What Actually Happens to Your Brain When You Exercise?

As we end this month of focusing on self-care, here is one last push for the benefits of exercise. As Elena shares in Chapter 6 of Onward, the following movement-related facts often get me out of my chair, so perhaps they’ll be useful reminders for you, too:

  • Whether or not you move is one of the greatest predictors of how well you will age. What’s your vision yourself at age 78?
  • Exercise improves long-term memory, reasoning, attention, and problem solving. This is why kids need recess a couple times a day.
  • The risk of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer is slashed in people who exercise for 30 minutes a few times a week.
  • Exercise regulates the neurotransmitters that govern our mental health. Almost every doctor or psychiatrist will prescribe exercise for depression.
  • Cognitive performance can be measurably boosted through cardiovascular exercise in as little as four weeks.
  • It doesn’t take a lot of exercise to reap the physical and mental benefits. Walking a few times a week is very beneficial, and you can get aerobic exercise two or three times a week, you’re doing great.

Still need convincing? Watch the TED Talk The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise to see just what happens to your brain as you exercise. Who is ready for a walk?