Time to ditch the Sudoku, crosswords and those brain game apps! Countless research showing the link between brain health and exercise have been popping up over the last few years – more reasons to consider an active lifestyle and to get your kids active from a young age. Exercise not only makes you smarter, but makes you more efficient, proving that workplaces could also benefit by having a gym break or a stroll break during office hours.
The standard guidelines recommend only 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. That seems completely doable given our busy schedules in and around Colombo. Here’s an article by Inc. by
that summarizes a few findings:
“Research has found that both aerobic and resistance exercise are beneficial (although aerobic tends to have an edge). But exercise only works if you do it, so choose something that you enjoy doing. Otherwise, hitting that magic 150 minutes per week will feel daunting.
If you need some inspiration, or are looking for something different to try, here are three activities that can work out your brain and are fun to do.
- Dancing. A study explored how an 18-month dance training program and 18 months of endurance and flexibility training might improve hippocampal volume in older adults aged 63 to 80 years. Both groups had increases in hippocampal volume, yet the dance group also had increases in brain regions linked with neuroplasticity. So the next time you go to the gym, instead of hitting the treadmill, think about going to a Zumba class instead. Or better yet, invite your partner or friend to go salsa dancing every Saturday night at your local dance hall.
Yoga. A recent study of people who participated in a three-month yoga retreat showed that the practice positively impacted BDNF signaling, which helps create new brain networks. Another study exhibited an association between a regular yoga practice and larger hippocampus volume. This means the more you practice, the greater the benefit to your overall learning and memory skills. I for one know that when I practice yoga it’s easier for me to come up with new creative ideas at work, learn new concepts, and generally get more done.
Tai Chi. Tai chi is a mind-body exercise that involves performing a series of slow-moving movements that focus on improving balance, body alignment, and concentration. One study found that people with Parkinson’s disease— a type of movement disorder that happens when nerve cells in the brain don’t produce enough of the brain chemical dopamine–benefited greatly from doing tai chi. The study showed that people with the disease who did two hour-long tai chi season for 24 weeks had better posture, stability, and fewer falls compared with those who did only resistant exercise or stretching routines. The link with neuroplasticity? Initial research suggests that exercise may help brain cells use existing dopamine more efficiently as well as improve how brain cells receive dopamine signals.
The next time you’re looking to boost your brain power in business, instead of pouring yourself another cup of coffee, go exercise instead. Turn exercise into a can’t-live-without habit by stepping away from life for 30 minutes or so every day to do something you enjoy. So put on your workout clothes, lace up your running (or dancing shoes) and get moving. Your body will be better for it as will your brain.”
The full article can be read here.
The good news is that Colombo offers a plethora of group classes related to the above. Workout.lk now offers bookings that easily let you book a class from the comfort of your home too! They are right at your fingertips with no disappointments or need to wait in queues. Visit: http://workout.lk/all_classes