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Exercise Your Mind

Exercise Your Mind

Summer is a great time to move your fitness program from the gym to the streets (and the trails). And while we all know that it’s wise to exercise, but it’s also true that exercise makes you wise. Researchers have been studying how working out affects the brain, and they’ve found compelling evidence that strong bodies and sharp minds go hand-in-hand.

The mental benefits of working out include:

  • A bigger brain—After the age of 30, human brains begin to lose volume, particularly in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory and learning. Research shows that physically active adults have a larger hippocampus than their more sedentary peers.

  • Faster thinking—White matter in your brain insulates connections and makes them more efficient at relaying information. Studies suggest that aerobic exercise promotes better white matter integrity in both adults and kids and improves cognitive speed.

  • Better memory—Adults who work out regularly show improvement in both short and long term memory.

  • More willpower—Self control is another side-effect of regular exercise. Children and adults who workout have been found to have better command over their inhibitions.

  • Increased focus—Physically fit adults have a better ability to focus on tasks.

  • Mental agility—Researchers have found a positive correlation between aerobic exercise and cognitive flexibility.

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