April 1, 2011
If you’ve read any of my books or blog entries, you know that I often incorporate the latest in brain science. My analytic mind loves to understand the “why” of everything. So for the next few entries, I will be sharing the latest on what I’m learning from neuroscience on being happy, healthy and more successful in life.
First up is one of my biggest personal challenges—prioritizing exercise. Frankly I’d rather do anything else. But I just read something that has sent me running to my elliptical. Aerobic exercise actually helps you make the changes you want in your life!
Here’s how: aerobic exercise increases BDNF, which stands for “brain-derived neurotrophic factor.” Think of BDNF as miracle grow for your brain. According to research, for up to 24 hours after exercise, it’s easier to grown new neurons and make new connections in your brain. In other words, exercise makes it easier to learn any new behavior, like being more organized or becoming more patient or every learning French, because it stimulates brain growth.
And if you’re struggling with decision making, focus, or conflict resolution, pick up a barbell. Weight training has now been shown not only to build muscles and improve bone health, but improve cognitive functioning, particularly in these areas.
Gym membership anyone?