Take a look at this brain! This brain scan was done by researchers who studied the cognitive performance of children after a 20-minute walk.
Remember the flush on your skin and increased energy after coming inside from the playground? This is what your brain looks like after 20 minutes of walking. Improved cognitive performance on exams after exercise has been documented consistently in research and this is why!
The benefits? Significant improvement of:
Reading comprehension performance
Spelling and arithmetic performance
Cognitive control of attention (focus anyone?)
While this research is on children, the list of benefits for adults is long. Here are just a few of the findings. Women with the beginning stages of cognitive impairment were studied and scored significantly better on verbal and memory tests when they walked at a fast pace or lifted weights twice per week. Regular exercise has been shown to physically enlarge the brain and augments learning and memory. Exercise also cements memory if done after a study session.
Essentially, exercise boosts multiple brain functions no matter when you do it, even if only twice per week.
I had the privilege of attending a conference with a session led by Dr. John Ratey. He spoke about his research and he was quite clear about the transformative impact of exercise. Originally a researcher of the aging brain and Alzheimer’s disease, he realized the incredible impact exercise had on young learning brains as well.
“Memory retention and learning functions are all about brain cells actually changing, growing, and working better together…Exercise creates the best environment for that process to occur.” -John J. Ratey, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
I encourage you to take the simple challenge of curiosity explorer, Sahil Bloom, and “go for a 30-minute tech-free walk.
• No phone
• No music
• No podcasts
• No articles
• No audiobooks
Just you, your thoughts, your gratitude, and the fresh air.
A simple reset that will change your life. I guarantee it.”
Recess. Just do it.
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