4 Ways to Use Exercise to Improve Cognitive Abilities

There are obviously quite a lot of reasons why people decide to go to gym – no doubt the biggest reasons would be to lose some weight, improve cardiovascular health, and maybe even look more aesthetically pleasing to the opposite sex. However, there have been so many advances in neuroscience lately that we’re only beginning to dive into the wonders of the amazing brain and how different activities actually have potential benefits to brain power.

As you might guess, the topic here is how exercise helps the brain. It does so in quite a few ways – it ups your mood, wards off depression, and might even help the brain age better, with increased immunity to ward off mental disorders associated with aging.

Latest research finds, though, that even 20 minutes of some sorts of exercise can already improve mental performance and focus for any sort of challenge that you’ll be undertaking. In fact, long-term, regular exercise might just even be exponentially beneficial to the brain.

Here are some ways that anyone, regardless of age, can level up their brain:

  1. Quick-and-dirty exercise sessions. Regardless of what type of exercise, a short, sweaty session in the gym can increase blood flow to the brain, allowing better transmission of signals through neurotransmitters. Thus, increasing common brain functions such as focus, alertness, and memory.
  2. Steady activities a few times a week. Some studies have found that steady, regular sessions of exercise that focus more on regularity and moderate, sustained activity, such as cardio, can actually reduce symptoms of depression as effectively as some of the moderately strong antidepressants. This might just benefit those suffering, and even in severe depression, the small help from exercise coupled with regular therapy sessions might just be enough to control it.
  3. Pick Up A New Sport. It doesn’t even have to be a new sport, really. However, when in the gym, try learning something completely new. Joining a new yoga class, learning martial arts, boxing, or anything really that involves learning a few new things can actually really help the processes associated with learning, overall aiding memory consolidation, and general learning abilities even when outside the gym.
  4. Mild daily activities. For those who have a lot of spare time, you’ll be happy to know that exercising in short sessions everyday might provide a small boost in memory, as concluded by a British study. You don’t even need a gym to fulfill this. Just some everyday activities like mowing the lawn, cooking, or cleaning can also be associated to boosts in memory capabilities. (The next time your wife asks you to do the dishes, do it for your brain!)