Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki highlights the benefits of exercise for the brain.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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Did you know that one of the most transformative things you can do for your brain is getting a little exercise every day? Get inspired to move your body as Suzuki reveals the science of how exercise protects your brain against diseases like Alzheimer's and improves your mood in the process.
The powerful effects of physical activity go beyond strengthening your body and improving your appearance. Moving your body has immediate and long-lasting benefits for the brain.
The brain researcher used her deep knowledge of this discipline to understand through her own body why exercise is the best thing people can do for their brain today.
She points out two critical areas of the brain. The first is the temporal lobe, which is essential for a person's ability to retain new and long-term memories, facts, and events. The second is the prefrontal cortex, just behind the forehead, vital for decision-making, attention, and personality.
The first key area of the brain is related to the hippocampus. Important events throughout your life such as your first kiss, the birth of your first child, or when you buy your first car can form a memory that changes your brain because it lasts a lifetime.
Suzuki discovered and experienced the effects of exercise that positively affect the brain and shared them in a TED talk a few years ago. After studying and lecturing in neuroscience and psychology at New York University's Center for Neural Sciences, the professor found that she spent more time alone sitting at a desk. She had no social life and gained about 20 pounds.
She decided to go to the gym and attend kickbox, dance, and yoga classes. At first, it was difficult, but then she began to notice how each sweat-inducing workout improved her mood and energy. After starting her new routine, she was able to stay focused longer.
The exercise was changing her brain and she had better mood, energy, memory, and attention. Suzuki gives these three reasons why exercising can change your life:
1) Immediate effects
It doesn't matter how intense the workout you do; it will immediately improve your mood and increase your levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These are great pain killers and stress relievers.
2) Improved focus
It will be easier for you to focus and concentrate on whatever task you need to do efficiently during the day after exercising. Improved focus after exercise will last at least two hours. That is why it is so essential to start the day moving the body.
3) Improve your reaction times
You're going to be quicker to catch things, help your kids, and do a favor when someone asks you to bring something. Thanks to its significant energy boost, you will find yourself paying more attention to your surroundings and feeling more alert.
Suzuki recommends increasing cardiorespiratory function in your exercise regimen for long-lasting effects. She says that "exercise really changes the anatomy, physiology, and function of the brain." She remembers: exercising produces new brain cells in the hippocampus, which improves your attention and long-term memory.