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Exercise and the Brain Part 4: Longevity

Everything we’ve discussed up to this point is still on the table. Most of it even more so. Learning, growing, and healing aren’t abilities you’ll stop needing in your life. An elastic brain is a brain that can go the distance. It adapts to new challenges, heals minor damage, and resists major damage. Author Nassim Nicholas Talib coined the term “Anti-fragile” to describe “things that gain from disorder.” He wrote a book about it. This term doesn’t describe an immovable body, frozen and immune to stress. It describes a system that thrives under stress, as all good systems do. A body (and brain) that take the inevitable wear and tear as catalyst for growth and improvement. […]

2020-11-25T12:07:10-07:00November 24, 2020|

Exercise and the Brain Part 3: Recovery and Maintenance

So exercise grows the brain and helps regulate it. Plus the younger we start the earlier the benefits are. But what if you’re (as a random example having nothing to do with the author) in your mid-thirties and struggling with stress, self-worth, and focus. You haven’t exercised in years. Maybe you never really did. Are you stuck with the brain you’ve got, unaided by all that great stretching, growing, exercise I mentioned last time? No. And not only no, but an emphatic “absolutely not!” […]

2020-11-25T12:07:40-07:00October 5, 2020|

Exercise and the Brain Part 2: Growth

We learn in order to move, and moving increases our capacity to learn. It’s a cycle that helped our species survive until we no longer needed to move as much just to find food. But our learning is still tied to movement. As is our brain health. Aerobic exercise stimulates the growth of brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor (BDNF) which in turn stimulates the growth of new neurons. Dysregulation of BDNF is linked to a great number of brain-based issues. If this was the only benefit of exercise to the brain, it would be enough reason for doctors to recommend it for brain health. The great news is exercise does so much more. […]

2020-11-25T12:08:33-07:00September 22, 2020|

Exercise and the Brain Part 1: Introduction and Overview

The first book recommended to me after I became a personal trainer was “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.” Written by John J Ratey, MD and Eric Hagerman, “Spark” argues that exercise helps produce “Miracle-Gro for the brain.” Most of the evidence supporting this argument was drawn from the previous decade of studies on learning capacity, cognitive decline, and brain health. The book is now seven years old, making some of that evidence almost old enough to vote. […]

2020-11-25T12:17:29-07:00August 26, 2020|
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