The Surprising Benefits of Exercise on Your Brain

A moderate fitness routine can improve your memory and mental health.

You may know that physical fitness has many benefits besides helping you get in shape: it can lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of developing heart disease and activate your immune system. But did you know that exercise can also boost your brain?

New studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise, which stimulates your heart rate and gets your blood pumping, can increase the size of the hippocampus. This is the area of your brain that is responsible for verbal memory and learning.

When you exercise, you release chemical signals in your brain to support healthy cells and the growth of new blood vessels. This may help your brain grow new cells in areas that control thinking and memory, which could help with preventing the brain fog that comes with age.

So how much exercise do you need to reap these benefits? Study results show that you should aim for half an hour of moderate physical activity, such as swimming, tennis or dancing, most days of the week.

Don’t worry if you aren’t up to speed just yet. Start with a few minutes of exercise each day, and slowly increase the amount every week. Sticking to a plan will help you progress. Set goals with the Online Health Coach and connect your fitness tracker to keep tabs on your workout routine. And, as always, be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

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