THEBRAINNEEDSEXERCISETOO Many people are familiar with how to become or remain physically fit by combining cardiovascular exercisewith resistance training to improve vascular function aswell as flexibility and strength. An exercise regimen that consistently includes some level of each of these is generally considered, alongwith a sensible diet, to be an effectivewhole-body approach to fitness. However, that conclusion leaves out an important part of the body…the brain. It is a fact that the brain does get some benefit fromphysical exercise. A 2019 study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society found that exercise stimulates brain activity, especially in the brain’s memory center. Other studies have shown that it is possible (and advantageous) to exercise the brainwithout working up a sweat. Research shows that the brainwants to be challenged, which is whywatching content on a screen for hours at a time is not just bad for the body. Word games and board games that require deduction and strategy are good places to start. Dr. JohnMorley, professor of medicine at St. Louis University, suggests the following ideas as some other ways to exercise the brain to improve cognitive function: 1. Learn a list – it can be your favoritemovies, albums or memes…just write down a list of themand try tomemorize it in order. 2. Play it – learn to play amusical instrument. Newand complex tasks that take time tomaster are the perfect brain challenge. 3. Say it – learn a new language. Studies have linked this challenging task to increased brain stimulation. 4. Throwyour brain a curve ball – learn to play a different sport. If you play baseball, give tennis or golf a try. Somethingwith a completely different set of rules and physical actions will keep your brain on its toes. 5. Concentrate to calculate – domath in your head. Ditch the calculator app the next time a situation arises requiring simplemath. The extra few seconds it takes canmean extra benefits for the brain.


Mind and Body Fitness

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