Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Exercise Is Good for Your Brain and Your Heart

More New Evidences about the Benefits of Exercise

The March 26, 2007 issue of Newsweek magazine covers a special Health for Life report.

Now scientists have more evidence to show that exercise helps build muscles, prevent heart disease, boost brainpower - and perhaps delay the development of Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive disorders. Researchers also have found more evidence as to how physical activities affect brain functions and moods. These are more evidences to support that running is good for your brain.

Exercise for Your Body, Exercise for Your Brain

Exercise can make people smarter. A strong, active body is crucial for building a strong, active mind. Exercise is long believed to have mental health benefits. The mental effects of exericse is far more complex than orignially thought. When you work out with your muscles, your body releases a protein called IGF-1 that triggers production of several chemicals, including one called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This molecule is called "Miracle-Gro for the brain" by Ratey, author of a new book "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain." BDNF might transform stem cells into full-grown, functional brain neurons that help learning.

Exercise --- The Best Anti-depressant?

Exercise is a pretty good antidepressant - biologically equivalent to medications. They both appear to spur nerve growth in the hippocampus region in the temporal lobe of the brain that is involved in regulating mood and storing memories. Through this mechanism, exercise probably relieves and likely prevents depression.

Vigorous High-Intensity Exercise Is Even Better

A recent study by Brian Duscha and his coworkers in Exercise Physiology at the Duke University School of Medicine showed that moderate exercise is fine, but a more vigorous workout added benefits. "Almost all cardiovascular rish factors respond significantly better to vigorous exercise than moderate exercise," says Brian Duscha. Vigorous exercise also has extra benefits in sense of purpose, ambition and self-confidence to Jessica Kavoulakis, a New York City lawyer and marathon runner.

Another review paper published in The American Journal of Cardiology by David Swain and Barry Franklin showed that vigorous exercise had greater improvements in aerobic capacity and glucose control and greater reductions in blood pressure for controlled total energy expenditure.

High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) Cardio Exercise

These studies confirm that High intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) cardio exercise is better than the long, slow, boring aerobic exercise in improving cardiovasular fitness and overall health. H.I.I.T. cardio workout is very taxing to your body. Try to limit full H.I.I.T. cardio session no longer than 30 minutes each time, no more than 3 times a week, preferably on non-strength training days.

Want to lose body fat, sculpt your lean and strong body, and reveal your six pack abs faster? Add a short 10- to 15-minute H.I.I.T. cardio at the end of your strength training session to blast your body. You'll boost your metabolism and keep your body in fat burning mode for good 24 to 48 hours. You also save your cardio time in the gym.

Learn the secrets to perform H.I.I.T. cardio and lose unwanted body fat in no time. >>

Some Cautions Remain ...

Of course, vigorous high intensity workouts are not for everyone. Always see your doctor before starting an exercise program, particularly for adults with risk factors in heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Hiring a qualified personal trainer is a great idea to help you get started and monitor your progress. Too much too soon is a common mistake to cause injuries for deconditioned people or beginners. Start slow and work up exercise intensity gradually to a more vigorous program. Periodization is a fitness and sports training program to keep you on track and make continual progress.

Still not convinced or motivated to jump off your couch and start exercising? Don't forget. Regular exercises and physical activites have many health benefits.

Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity:
  • Reduce the risk of premature death

  • Reduce the risk of developing and/or dying from heart disease

  • Reduce high blood pressure or the risk of developing high blood pressure

  • Reduce high cholesterol or the risk of developing high cholesterol

  • Reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and breast cancer

  • Reduce the risk of developing diabetes

  • Reduce or maintain body weight or body fat

  • Build and maintain healthy muscles, bones, and joints

  • Reduce depression and anxiety

  • Improve psychological well-being

  • Enhanced work, recreation, and sport performance

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