Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

Exercise

  • A lifetime of exercise can result in a sometimes astonishing elevation in cognitive performance. Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in tests that measure long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, and fluid intelligence tasks. Exercisers are half as likely to have dementia, and 57% less likely to have strokes. It reduces anxiety and depression immediately and in the long-term.
  • When our ancestors lived on the African plains, it is estimated that they moved on an average 12 miles a day, so we evolved to move. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, an organ that uses ten times as much oxygen as muscle. It also improves the road-like blood vessels that cary oxygenated blood. It’s easy to see, therefore, why exercise improves brain function. It also improves the function of your other organs and in the process lowers health care costs. This is why many organizations are finding ways to increase exercise among their employees.
  • It seems obvious that schools should be doing the same thing, but many schools have cut back on recess in favor of test preparation. This is like trying to gain weight by starving yourself. What they should do is schedule 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity twice a day, and look for other ways to allow children to be more active.
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