Posted By: Envision2bWell, Inc
At Envision2bWell, we love TED Talks because they are a great way to learn so many amazing things from the world’s leading scientists, mathematicians, philosophers and more! Recently, we came across this fascinating TED Talk from neuroscientist, Wendy Suzuki, about the transformative power of exercise on the brain.
Most of us think about the benefits of exercise first in terms of our waistline. We want to shed excess body fat and tone muscle. Secondary to that, we think of exercise as a way to increase cardiovascular health – by literally working out our heart muscle. And finally, we understand that regular physical activity increases the overall health and well-being of our bodies.
What is less talked about, however, is the transformative effect of exercise on the brain – beyond the conversation of endorphins, that is. “Endorphin rush” is a common phrase used to describe the happy mood that follows a good sweat session and science proves this is a real thing. As Wendy says in her talk, “A single workout that you do will immediately increase levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline.”
There are even more positive immediate effects of exercise on the brain to celebrate, Wendy goes on to tell us: “My lab showed that a single workout can improve your ability to shift and focus attention, and that focus improvement will last for at least two hours. And finally, studies have shown that a single workout will improve your reaction times.”
These short-term effects are wonderful, but it turns out there is significant, long-lasting impact on the brain from consistent physical activity. Focus, attention and mood are not only increased in the short-term, but in the long-term as well. So basically, science has proven that exercise makes you a happier, more productive person!
If that wasn’t enough, research shows that exercise has transformative protective benefits on the brain that help ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia. Currently, there are over 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. Between 2000 and 2019, deaths from heart disease have decreased 7.3% while deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased 145%. It kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined and deaths due to Alzheimer’s and dementia increased by 16% during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more about Alzheimer’s in our recent blog here.
So basically, the moral of the story is move your body every day! It will increase the health of your body, the health of your heart, and the health of your brain! Click below to watch Wendy's full TED Talk and be inspired to get moving!
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