All forms of movement are good for your brain, but strength training and walking are especially good, a leading workplace coach has said.
Performance strategist and author of new book, MatchFit, Andrew May told Yahoo Finance that the chemical BDMF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) helps people make decisions and is triggered by exercise.
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“When you exercise, you increase blood flow and you increase oxygen coming to the brain which makes you more aware and alert,” he said.
“This is why I get so many people now who do walking meetings because they wake you up, not just for the meeting but for the meetings after.”
He said building regular movement into a daily routine is an important first step, including walking.
According to his MatchFit calculator, which measures ability to “work, play and compete at a consistently high level”, sitting for less than seven hours a day is optimal.
But, his research has also found that a lot of people are sitting for nine or 10 hours.
“The lack of blood flow and oxygenation is causing a lot of damage,” he said.
“You know what it's like you're working at a big job and you're being engaged and you're at your desk and you look up and it's 2:30, 3:00 – you go, ‘I feel so bloody tired,’ and it’s because you're not moving.”
He said the ideal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day.
Weight training beneficial for your muscles – including your brain
“But a lot of the research shows that high-intensity weight training, short duration 20-30 minutes, really does stimulate that BDNF.
“That's why we need people to do a blend of some cardio and definitely most people need to do more strength training.”
According to University of Alabama researchers, resistance exercise can boost attention, reasoning and memory.
The study analysed 20 different published papers to get a broad view of the benefits of resistance training.
"This study is an important step in understanding the relationship between physical health and cognitive and mental health," said Daniel Mirman, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Psychology. "
The health and physical benefits of exercise are well-established. Millions of people choose weightlifting as a means of exercise, especially those with cardiorespiratory and physical limitations.”
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