Supercharge your brain (with exercise)

You do not have to look far to discover research and rationale on why we should exercise daily.  Articles will refer to the need to keep the body disease free, to manage stress, to improve sleep quality, to have a healthy heart – all true, and the list goes on and on.  I’d like to add to the list with the benefits to the brain.  This goes far beyond the idea of a ‘runners high’, endorphin release or a release of the mood balancing hormone serotonin.  I’m currently reading a book titled “Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”, and it is reminding why I spent years at Uni learning about human movement.

What if we start with the underlying idea “that the point of exercise is to build and condition the brain”?  The brain is never more conductive to learning than just after exercise – it does not have to be an hour long session – just a quick 10-15 minute cardio joust and you are there – in the learning zone.  Research on seniors that are aging well have reportedly 3 key behaviours – education (and constant learning), self efficacy (the belief they control their own destiny), and you guessed it – a regular exercise routine.

It won’t be news to you that you are at your most receptive, most focused self after exercise.  Your thinking is clearer and your ability to learn new stuff is heightened.  I’m thinking this is not the first time you have heard or even suspected this – but what John Ratey has done in his book is presented a range of brain research studies that unequivocally prove it.   It was music to my ears when a US based PE teacher guru said “In our department, we create brain cells, it’s up to the other teachers to fill them”.

So, how can we apply this to our every day life?  Try these tips

  • Walk your kids to and from school – up a hill if possible
  • Exercise first thing each day – 10-15 mins is enough
  • Take on a lunch time exercise class – be fresh in the afternoon
  • Got an important job interview or meeting – exercise first
  • Most importantly love what you do – or you’ll drop it in a heart beat!

Hobart Observer July 2015

Jo Cordell-Cooper runs Active Solutions and Health Network – specialising in women’s fitness all ages all stages.  Make contact at,, or 0409 862206

Sharing is caring!