You and I both know that exercise is good for our body. It makes our hearts stronger, improves oxygen delivery throughout our bodies, provides us with stronger, faster muscles, stokes our metabolic processes and nourishes all our joints and connective tissues. This, by itself, is sufficient evidence to want to just get out there and bust a move.
Intuitively we know the goodness of exercise goes beyond the physical, extending to the cognitive, the emotional/mental and the spiritual. It feeds our soul, enhances our alertness, and creates within us a cavalcade of neurophysiological reactions which make us smarter. Really! Exercise is good for our brains.
For some time, researchers have known that exercise changes the structure of the brain and affects thinking. Ten years ago scientists at the Salk Institute in California published the groundbreaking finding that exercise stimulates the creation of new brain cells.
The ability of the brain to generate new brain cells, neurogenesis, was ground breaking knowledge when it was discovered. Previously it was believed we were born with a finite number of brain cells and, as these cells died off, they could not be replaced. I recall, as a teenager warnings about sending brain cells down into the sewer system every time I consumed alcohol and subsequently flushed. I believed these admonitions. What a relief to find out that brain cells do, indeed, regenerate.
It would be fair to say that any form of regular exercise, if it is aerobic, should be able to maintain or even increase our brain functions.
What more do you need to know? Not only will your body work more efficiently, with less effort for a longer period of time, your brain will stay sharper, process information more effectively, have higher responsiveness.
Exercise is the whole package. Do not hesitate: get out there. Now. Move and keep moving. You won’t ever have to look back.