There are tons of health tips floating around — many of them are good while some of them are not so helpful. One tip that you will never hear is that you should avoid exercise at all costs.
No sane person would claim that exercise is bad for you. There’s absolutely no evidence showing this.
There is, however, a ton of evidence that regular exercise is good for your physical health. It helps reduce the chance of experiencing heart disease, stroke, and even diabetes. It can help you lose weight, fight depression, and decrease your blood pressure.
But did you know going for a brisk walk is actually good for your brain too?
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Researchers from the University of British Columbia found in a study that aerobic exercise on a regular basis increases the size of a part of the brain called the hippocampus. It literally grows. This is the section of your brain that deals with learning and verbal memory.
And by “aerobic exercise,” the researchers say this can mean doing something that will make you sweat and get your heart rate going. And they suggest that you should exercise over a period of six months to a year.
The study looked at the effect of walking on the health of the brain. However, they say this could also mean running, biking, or some sport or activity where you’re moving on a constant basis.
And this study comes at the perfect time.
Did you know that every four seconds, someone is discovered to have dementia? The time it took you to read that sentence, someone was diagnosed with dementia. And during that sentence.
You get the idea.
By 2050, it’s estimated that at least 115 million people will be diagnosed with dementia around the world.
So What Can Exercise Do For Your Brain?
Simply put, regular exercise helps your memory.
The better your brain is at cutting back on inflammation and insulin resistance, the more your brain benefits. The better your brain is at encouraging the release of brain-friendly chemicals that help new blood vessels grow and make brain cells thrive, the more your brain benefits.
Plus, exercise helps you be in a more positive mood and sleep better, thus reducing stress. People with lots of anxiety and stress often end up with cognitive issues later in life.
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So if we’re talking about health tips, here are some that will encourage the growth of your hippocampus.
The participants in this study walked quickly for 60 minutes twice a week, so you could start there. If walking is difficult or not possible for you, find another moderately intense exercise, like swimming or dancing. You can also do things like mopping the floor, shoveling snow, or raking the leaves.
Pretty much any type of exercise that makes you sweat a little. And you can start small and work your way up to two hours a week.
How To Stay Motivated To Exercise
Exercising on a regular basis can be very difficult. To exercise, you need motivation. And sometimes our motivation needs a kick in the pants.
So, in order to keep your brain healthy through exercise, the first thing you should do is set a goal for yourself. If you want to start exercising for two hours per week, you could shoot for 15 minutes a day, 30 minutes every other day, or one hour two time per week.
Whatever and however you do it, set a goal.
Here are some tips for keeping you motivated:
Join a workout or yoga class Track how you’re progressing toward your goal with an app (or just pen and paper)Start exercising with a friend so you have someone holding you accountable Hire your own trainer to help you reach your goal Make it a part of your regular routine Start exercising with a friend so you have someone holding you accountable
One final motivator: the health of your brain. Picture your hippocampus growing just a little bit every time you break a sweat. Imagine how much healthier your brain could be with a just a little more exercise.