Boost your brain function with fitness

Looking to boost your brain power? Then step away from the books as fitness could be the answer. SmartFit35 explains why exercise and physical activity could be beneficial for more than just your physical health.

If you were considering swapping a walk to the shops for a drive in the car or maybe an afternoon on the sofa as opposed to some form of activity, then we might have the motivation you need to reconsider. According to a recent study, fitness has been linked to improved brain function amongst young adults.

It’s well known that there’s a clear link between exercise and the positive impact it can have on a person’s cognitive performance, which includes things like their attention span and memory, as well as the actual structure of the brain. For example, in older adults being physically active can increase the size of the hippocampus, this is the part of the brain responsible for learning, emotion and memory. Clever stuff hey?

However, this latest research focuses on the impact exercise can have on young adults and their cognitive performance. The study involved researchers analysing more than 1,200 MRI brain scans of individuals, with an average age of 29 who volunteered to be involved in the study. Each volunteer completed a simple two-minute walking test which was specifically designed to measure their endurance before completing a cognitive test. The researchers soon found that individuals with high levels of endurance performed better in the cognitive test. The study also highlighted a visible difference between the brains of people with better fitness which positively linked to better brain health and performance. They also tended to have more white brain matter which contains crucial nerve fibres to ensure signals travel at a faster speed and more efficiently.

This is just one of many studies that highlights the positive impact regular exercise can have on our overall health, from improving our mental wellbeing through to boosting our immune system. If you’re keen to boost your brain function through exercise, here a few suggestions to try.

Although all exercise is beneficial to your health, in terms of brain health cardio is king. This is because it makes the heart beat faster, which in turn increases blood flow to the brain. As blood carries oxygen and the brain is the biggest consumer of oxygen in our bodies this is highly beneficial.

Exercise such as jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing or circuits to raise your heart rate and get more blood pumping to your brain. Strength training such as weight-lifting also brings its own benefits to brain health so a combination of the two is ideal for the best results. As well as improving your brain function, you will also start to see improvements in your muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness over time.

To really boost your brain function, aim to be physically active for 30 – 60 minutes, three to five times a week. This doesn’t mean running a marathon but doing enough to raise your heart rate while still being able to hold a conversation. Look for activities which you enjoy doing so exercise doesn’t feel like a chore. And if like many the thought of going into a gym is a little daunting, fear not. SmartFit35 isn’t a gym! We offer personalised and bespoke training programmes, delivered by qualified and expert coaches. There are no grunting weight-lifters or scantily clad runners, during a SmartFit35 session, you’ll be working out in small groups at times, striking up some great comradery with your fellow exercisers and making new friends too.

So, there you have it. Exercise is not only great for your body, but it’s also very much needed for your mind too.

To give SmartFit35 a try, visit our website to book your free 7-day trial. We look forward to meeting you and helping you to reach your goals!