Physical and Mental Exercise

There have been a num­ber of good posts recent­ly on the links between phys­i­cal exer­cise and brain exer­cise. The Brain Code blog post­ed a great sum­ma­ry of the key points:

  • Exer­cise improves learn­ing through increased blood sup­ply and growth hormones
  • Exer­cise is an anti-depres­sant by reduc­ing stress and pro­mot­ing neurogenesis
  • Exer­cise pro­tects the brain from dam­age and dis­ease, as well speed­ing the recovery
  • Exer­cise ben­e­fits you the most when you start young

A recent arti­cle from the Soci­ety for Neu­ro­science quotes:

Every­body knows that exer­cise is good for your heart, but in recent years we’ve gath­ered com­pelling evi­dence that exer­cise is also good for your brain,” says Fred Gage, PhD, of the Salk Insti­tute for Bio­log­i­cal Stud­ies. “We now know that exer­cise helps gen­er­ate new brain cells, even in the aging brain.”

Accord­ing to the research of Richard Smeyne, PhD, and his col­leagues at Saint Jude Chil­dren’s Research Hos­pi­tal in Memphis:

Our find­ings sug­gest that at least two months of exer­cise are need­ed to pro­tect the cells and that high­er lev­els of exer­cise were sig­nif­i­cant­ly more ben­e­fi­cial than low­er amounts, although all exer­cise was bet­ter than none. These find­ings also sug­gest that start­ing an exer­cise pro­gram ear­ly in life may be an easy, non-phar­ma­co­log­i­cal way to low­er the risk of devel­op­ing Parkin­son’s dis­ease lat­er in life.

Game Plan
One way to get to get on board to ded­i­cat­ing time and effort to both types of exer­cise is the 10,000 Words & 10,000 Steps pro­gram. Try it and see if you can keep up!

Don’t for­get the Four Pil­lars of Brain Health:
1) Phys­i­cal Exercise
2) Brain Exercise
3) Good Nutrition
4) Stress Reduction

Fur­ther Links





  1. Neal Cohen on November 7, 2006 at 7:57

    I find that using a pedome­ter dai­ly pro­vides excel­lent feed­back on how I am man­ag­ing my phys­i­cal and men­tal health on a day-to-day basis. Neal

  2. Caroline on November 7, 2006 at 11:03

    Great idea! Now we just need a lex­ome­ter to go with the pedome­ter, and we’ll be set! Any­one know where to get one?!

  3. Giulia on November 17, 2006 at 4:42

    I def­i­nite­ly agree with your arti­cle. Actu­al­ly, I do think the key to longevi­ty and well­ness is men­tal fitness.

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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