And just like Albert Einstein, sometimes you need your brain to act fast.
Whether you’re fiddling with the multi-purpose remote, playing one of the fast-paced video games with your kid or trying to make up an excuse for working out (I’ve seen and heard them all from my personal training clients) you are going to need to make quick decisions.
And because of this you are going to need a healthy, functioning brain to think quickly as you age.
Luckily, science seems to have found the answer to preventing brain atrophy: EXERCISE!
I’m sure you think I’m crazy. After all, aren’t we taught that we should keep our brain sharp? When we think of “strengthening the brain”, the routine usually consists of crossword puzzles or the occasional Sudoku challenge; not treadmills and push-ups.
According to a study done at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, people who ran on a treadmill for 30 minutes did better on a computer test afterwards, as opposed to the group that had no exercise whatsoever.
Thirty minutes of cardio exercise changed these people’s brainwaves to the point where they could make better decisions, faster—that’s right, all thanks to some basic cardio.
Consider this: a clear head is a necessary contribution to keeping our brain sharp. A foggy, distracted mentality caught up with everyday worries won’t be so quick when faced with a problem or be forced to remember something.
And yet, that fog seems to magically lift while you’re pounding away at the treadmill or doing some burpees. You become acutely aware of your exhausted muscles and how ragged your breath sounds.
This mental clarity can also contribute to faster problem-solving and making new connections. For example, you could improve your problem solving skills when you are solving a crossword puzzle while doing cardio or outsmarting your friends at Wii Tennis!
Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if we could simply keep that lucid perspective over the long haul?
According to John Ratey, a psychiatrist who wrote the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, there is overwhelming evidence that suggests the payoff of regular exercise includes increased mental capacity, increased cognitive functions and a stronghold against dementia.
Imagine the possibilities if regular exercise was incorporated for the rest of your life!
Of course, another way to keep your mind sharp is to research healthy recipes! Despite how many hours you spend working out, your brain will always need a nutritional diet to function at its full capacity.
So, next time you find yourself stuck on a Jeopardy question, start doing some burpees (or jumping jacks or mountain climbers…) and channel your inner Albert Einstein. You never know what answers that could produce!