Exercise doesn't just make your body more fit. It makes your mind more fit.
New research shows that regular exercise can improve cognitive functioning, which means improvements in your ability to think, recall, and make quick decisions. One explanation for this is that exercise increases blood flow to the brain.
Many studies have been done on rats, but in recent research on human beings is showing similar results: a sharp body leads to a sharp mind.
One study shows that the sooner you start with regular exercise, the better your cognitive functions will be in your older age. So getting children to exercise can have a significant impact on their brainpower when they turn 50.
This study in England, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, is one of the first to assess the long-term impact of exercise on the brain. It builds on data that shows exercise not only improves blood circulation but also improves memory and other brain functions.
Another study concluded that exercise helps keep the brain from deteriorating.
Researchers believe the positive results of exercise on brain function in the short and long term are related to several factors, including that regular exercise improves sleep, which is a key to optimal brain function. Also, exercise helps reduce stress, which is another cause of diminished cognitive function. Further, physical fitness protects against dementia. The researchers found that regular physical activity provides better protection for aging brains than leisure or mental activity.
So tone your body, and tone your mind, all at the same time.