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Exercise Isn’t Just for Weight Loss — It’s for Body, Mind, and Spirit

 Exercise isn't just for weight loss - it's good for your brain too.by Linda Gabriel

Your body was created to move.

“Form follows function” is a principle found in nature. Because the function of a living thing will often determine it’s form, we can figure out something about the function of an organism from it’s form.

If you look at the human body, what’s the first thing you notice about the structure?
(Hint: what do we have that, say a jellyfish, doesn’t?)

Muscles.  Lots of big muscles. We have large muscles and long bones that are designed for movement.

We don’t need science to tell us that physical activity is good for us, we know we feel better when we get exercise. However the research is clear: lack of exercise leads to all sorts of problems.

What does recent data reveal about how exercise benefits for your brain?

1.  Sitting too much shortens your lifespan.

Sadly, this is true even if you hit the gym but are otherwise sitting all day.

The solution?

  • Get up and walk around for 5 minutes every half hour or so.
  • Stand up and walk when you’re on the phone.
  • Set up a standing computer station. You don’t have to use it all the time, but every little bit helps.
  • Compared to sitting, simply standing helps keep your muscles toned.

2.  Lack of exercise not only increases your chances of heart disease, it increases risk of dementia, diabetes, and a bunch of cancers.

The good news?

Almost any amount of exercise reduces these risks. It doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Almost everyone can walk for 30 minutes a day. (If you have an injury or other health problem, check with your doctor.)

3.  Exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your brain.

Here’s how exercise benefits your brain:

  • Exercise increases blood flow to the brain
  • Regular exercise enhances memory, even in the elderly
  • Exercise reduces depression
  • Exercise initiates a cascade of bio-chemicals that contribute to health and a sense of well-being.
  • Exercise reduces or prevents age-related brain shrinkage
  • Exercise increases BDNF (Brain-derived neurotropic factor), especially sprints.

You are not a tree. You were born to move. Get up and enjoy this precious gift!

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