The Best Exercise Routine For Your Brain

At this point we all know that exercise is good for us.

  • Alleviate stress, anger, anxiety, and depression
  • Increase focus, attention, and alertness
  • Reduce the risk of age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other forms of Dementia
  • Going a step further, it is best to do some form of aerobic activity 6 days a week, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Go on the longer side for 4 of the days at moderate intensity (65–75% of your maximum heart rate), and then 2 of the days should be on the shorter side at high intensity (75–90%). Make sure not to do the high-intensity days back-to-back in order to let your body and brain recover.
  • For your aerobic exercise, activities like running, cycling, or swimming are great, but the best type of aerobic activity is really whatever you will truly be able to build into your lifestyle. If you haven’t been active in a while, the best way to begin is to start walking.
  • On your shorter, high-intensity days, add some form of strength or resistance training to build muscles, strengthen bones, and protect joints (do 3 sets of your exercises at weights that allows you to do 10–15 repetitions in each set).
  • Make efforts to mix in more complex activities that will build skills, challenge the brain, and help you stay agile — for example rock climbing, martial arts, gymnastics, dance, yoga, pilates, or balance drills. Racket sports are especially great because they simultaneously tax the cardiovascular system and the brain. According to Ratey, “The combination of challenging the brain and body has a greater positive impact than aerobic exercise alone.”
  • Consider joining an exercise group to get going and keep you on track. Social interaction is great for health, reduces stress, and boosts motivation. “Exercise cues up the building blocks of learning, and social interaction cements them in place,” says Ratey.

Certified Nutritionist who writes about living well. Subscribe to my email list at andrewmerle.com.

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