Logically speaking, we all know that exercise is good for you. There are the benefits of losing weight, sweating your pores clean, and clearing your head, yada…yada. I talk about some other benefits in this article here.
But did you know that you may be having tiny strokes everyday without even knowing it? Fortunately, exercise can avoid that and has some added HUGE brain boosting benefits! (Keep reading below to see what I mean.)
Don't we all need a brain boost, parents and kid's alike? We all want to work smarter not harder. Right?
Brain boosting benefits of exercise
At its root, exercise protects you from the illnesses of aging. Exercising at least 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes, per the MacArthur Foundation Study, has been shown to enhance thinking in people over 75 years of age. In another study from Quebec, Dr. D. Laurin showed that, compared with no exercise, physical activity was associated with lower risks of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's Disease and dementia of any type. High levels of physical activity were associated with even more reduced risks.
Here are 3 specific brain-boosting benefits of exercise:
1. Exercise improves your higher thinking power and long-term memory
Research by Dr. Carl Cotman at UC Irvine, showed that exercising rats generate new neurons in the hippocampus region of their brains that last about 4 weeks, that then die off if no new neural connections are made. During exercise, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels are elevated for about 3 days after the exercise.
Why is this important? BDNF is a growth factor that is responsible for the support of existing neurons and the creation of new neurons and synapses in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex and basal forebrain, areas that are vital to learning, memory and higher thinking. BDNF itself is important for long-term memory. The more BDNF you have circulating in your system, the healthier your brain, and therefore the less prone your brain is to disease. The fact that BDNF tends to remain active for 3 days post-exercise, is a big impact to help busy families get healthier fast. A simple tip that if if we love our brain, it loves us back. Note, to maximize the presence of BDNF, then there should be no more than 3 days in between your workout schedule.
Bottom line: the more you exercise, the better and more clear your thoughts and the more you can remember! And for kids, the more advantage they will have to learn better, test better, and have a clearer mind to apply their learnings better.
2. Exercise reduces the risk of free radical damage which leads to cancer
Glutathione is the most powerful antioxidant found in every cell of your body and is integral in protecting you from inflammation, toxins and pathogens. In so doing, glutathione is key to protecting your muscles and other tissues from free radical damage which can ultimately lead to Cancer. You can actually use glutathione supplements to further help in the reduction of free radical damage, especially when in environments such as airplanes or during activities such as the consumption of alcohol. I highly recommend the Bulletproof Upgraded Glutathione Force from Bulletproof Exec for this.
Even though you can supplement, it's better to develop and maintain your own internal glutathione factory through exercise. It's Free!
Natural glutathione production is dependent on ATP, which is the molecule supplying cells with energy. And, exercise leads to more ATP. So, increase your exercise, and you will have more ATP which leads to more glutathione which then decreases free radical damage in your cells. But beware, that more exercise doesn't equate to more glutathione. In fact, it is the opposite. Too much exercise can actually cut down production of glutathione so you want to strike that perfect balance between exercise and rest that works for your body.
Bottom line: the more you exercise, the less damaged your cells and the healthier you are! And For kids, the stronger their immune system becomes and the less school they miss as a result of being sick.
3. Exercise reduces the occurrence of tiny strokes deep in your brain
Exercise increases the chemical nitric oxide which helps to keep blood vessel walls open and round. For your blood vessels to remain open, there needs to be blood pulsing through the vessels. And without good blood flow through the vessels, the nitric oxide levels drop and cause the vessel walls to become distorted, thereby limiting the flow of blood. And you know that there is no better way to increase the flow of blood through your arteries than by exercise!…right? Show your kids by example to love their brain and nurture it, for their benefit!
Without the proper pulsatile flow of blood that comes from regular exercise, the blood vessels located deep in your brain can distort and block the flow of blood which leads to many tiny strokes. The accumulation of these tiny strokes, over a period of years can cause deep brain areas to stop working. These deep brain areas are responsible for controlling leg and coordinated body movement and speed of thinking and behaving. Strokes in these areas paint a clinical picture that resembles Parkinson's Disease. This phenomenon supports why people over 40 years of age, that do not exercise, are not as mentally sharp as people who regularly exercise.
Bottom line: the more you exercise, the more coordinated your body and the sharper your mind is as you age! And for kids, their focus becomes sharper as their school work gets harder and more involved.
Join the discussion…
Keep exercise as a form of fun and family bonding. Move together. It can be as simple as family walks, with or without the dog, during which you can catch up with everyone's day. Walking is an exercise fit for all ages and throw in some high-intensity interval training during your walk, and you all can burn more fat together while boosting your brain.
You know what they say…The family that burns fat together, stays together! 🙂
What are you gonna do? Share with the community your favorite ways to exercise as a family? How have you or your kids experienced an improved clarity of mind with exercising?
I am fueled by "Paying It Forward in Health" on this site.My main driver in creating this website, alongside my family, is to share our ongoing family health journey in hopes of encouraging others to have the health epiphany that we have been blessed to experience.
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