Train Your Brain With Exercise
Not only is exercise smart for your heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you do.
If You Want to Try Exercise as a Brain Trainer continued...
Therefore, low to moderate forms of exercise are recommended
for brain training. Ratey recommends 8 to 12 minutes a day of sweating and
breathing-hard exercise (60% of maximum heart rate) for brain training.
Anderson says a minimum would be 30 minutes of moderate
exercise, walking, hiking, or swimming, three times a week. Half an hour to an
hour, four to five times a week would be even better. For those who want to be
REALLY on the ball, 90 minutes five to six times a week would not be out of
line, she says.
Anderson recommends two sessions a day for this purpose, rather
than one big heaving workout. "Swim for 20 minutes in the morning, then
walk at night," she advises. "Right after hard, intense exercise, you
may not be as acute. Overtraining can set off enzymes that can lead to fatigue,
which is the enemy of alertness."
Anderson also says the type of exercise you select depends on
your personality. It may be the opposite of what you'd expect. "If you're a
32-year-old male, work 70 hours a week, play ball twice on the weekend and jog
daily," she says, "you may need to do some yoga to improve your mental
acuity." Some coaches, she points, out actually have to get people to relax
to find their "edge." Meditation can also be a great complement to
exercise, she adds. Then: "Do what you enjoy. That's important."
"You want to ready your brain for learning," Ratey
says. For that to happen, all the chemicals must "jog" into place.
Star Lawrence is a medical journalist based in
the Phoenix area.