The Brain-Changing Effects of Exercise: Yes, Working Out Really Is Important! by Megan Abbott
As a personal trainer, I'm asked by clients, friends and family if working out is really necessary and if it’s going to make that big of a difference. Yes! Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki, author of "Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better," explains how exercise affects the brain and well-being:
Short-Term Effects (2 Hours Post-Workout)
- Increased levels of neurotransmitters: Three of the mood-boosting chemicals from the brain are released, resulting in a better mood.
- Increased ability to shift and focus attention: If you need to focus on a project or task, do it in the two-hour window.
- Improved reaction time: Maybe not a huge benefit, but a benefit nonetheless!
Long-Term Effects (with consistent workouts three to four times a week at least 30 minutes with increased heart rate):
- New brain cells in hippocampus: This equals improved long-term memory.
- Increased volume of the hippocampus: Improved attention and focus.
- Protective effects of the brain: Long-lasting mood enhancers; it will also take longer for any neurodegenerative diseases and normal cognitive decline due to aging to have an effect.
Working out at least 30 minutes or more three to four days a week is so important for physical and mental health and brain function. It does make a difference!
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