Exercise and the Brain - Sharing Knowledge and Experience from Worldwide

Hi All,

Over the years, I've heard from people that they're very busy and that when they'll get done with whatever that they're doing whether after some weeks or months or even years then they'll start or get back into exercising. This topic is to share scientific information which supports that health and fitness is of value to not only the body but also the brain which people use for doing anything.

I suggest reading this http://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/1402/exercise-and-th... article thoroughly which I think is of high value.


Regular exercise has been proven to be more effective than brain games, super foods, supplements or any other method used to keep the brain sparking on all cylinders into old age.

In one study performed by researchers at the University of Illinois, just one 30-minute treadmill session—and only 20 minutes for children—improved cognition by 5 percent to 10 percent.

One terrific example of this phenomenon is a 2010 investigation done at Cambridge University in England. After just a few days of running, the fMRI images of the volunteer joggers revealed the growth of hundreds of thousands of new brain cells. Not only that, the joggers exhibited a marked improvement in their ability to recall memories, learn new information and excel at other important cognitive tasks.

For children, the advantages of exercise shine brightly in the classroom, something parents will be keen to learn. In one famous example, a Canadian middle-school teacher started her kids jogging on a treadmill during language arts class and pumping iron as they solved math problems. To her astonishment, at the end of the four-month trial every single student went up at least one full grade in reading and writing and some kids went up six full grades in their vocabulary scores. The students’ ability to concentrate was sharper and they spent more time working without interruption. Attendance also improved and disciplinary problems declined by an impressive 67 percent. All this from two weekly, 20-minute workout sessions.

Georgia Health Sciences University researchers confirmed these classroom results by having overweight 11- to 17-year olds commit to 20 to 40 minutes of vigorous play—running games, hula hooping and jumping rope—every day after school for three months. Their playtime was fun, but also delivered some serious results: fMRI scans showed an enhancement in brain activity in the prefrontal cortex—an area associated with complex thinking, decision making and appropriate social behavior—and less activity in an area of the brain that sits behind it, a shift in activity that is consistent with more rapidly developing cognitive skills. The kids who exercised the most posted a 3.8 point increase on I.Q. tests, and all the children saw dramatic improvements in their math skills, despite the fact that they received no additional math instruction during the time of the study.

Consider what Harvard clinical behavioral psychologist, Jeff Brown, Psy.D., who is also on the medical team for the Boston Marathon and other national sporting events, has to say about treating the brain right with exercise, diet and an otherwise healthy lifestyle: “We’ve taken the human brain for granted and not seriously considered how to optimize it. But solid research is telling us just how to fine-tune the most special, hi-tech gadget available to us. The days of neglecting the brain should be over. We should all be embracing brain care at any age. So, the next time you tell someone to lace up for a run, get ready for a workout or take a Zumba class, their brain will thank you. Tell your clients that even if their goal is to lose weight, their brain is the 3 pounds they never want to lose.”

Researchers at the University of Washington determined, for instance, that seniors who exercised at least three times a week diminished their risk of dementia by up to 32 percent. (That's not to say that exercise or anything else is a sure-fire cure for Alzheimer's or dementia.)

And in one recent study, those who devoted themselves to one year of modest aerobic exercise reversed normal brain shrinkage by one to two years and improved their memory function. More than 100 subjects age 50 or older either walked briskly three times a week for 40 minutes or did a similar amount of yoga and strength training. The walkers increased the volume of the front part of the hippocampus by 2 percent, while the yogis continued to experience the normal neural shrinkage associated with aging. Both groups, however, showed significant improvements on spatial memory tests.


Liz Neporent is an author, writer and social media consultant. She is a regular contributor to ABC News where her influential online Reporter’s Notebook series covers a diversity of health topics such as the psychology of barefoot running and obesity in fruit flies. She is author and coauthor of more than 20 health books including Fitness For Dummies, now in its 4th edition andWeight Training For Dummies, now in its 3rd edition. In her work with Harvard Medical School Publications she wrote last year’s acclaimed best seller The Winner's Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success with coauthors Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske and the upcoming Harvard Medical School’s Guide to Managing Migraines


Shakti Saran

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Something for thought: "Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories?" http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=thinking-hard-calo...

Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. There are plenty of good reasons to be physically active. Big ones include reducing the odds of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Maybe you want to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, prevent depression, or just look better.

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