What is the Single Best Type of Exercise for Your Brain?

Do you want a completely natural way to improve your sense of well-being, memory, lift your mood and protect your brain against the development of all types of age-related diseases?

Simply, start moving more.

There have been a ton of studies conducted which unanimously conclude that any kind of exercise which increases your heart rate and makes you move and sweat for a prolonged period of time, commonly known as an aerobic exercise, has a significantly positive impact on the brain and provides many health benefits. It seems that aerobic exercise is one of the best things you could do for your brain’s health, not just for your heart.

Even though some of the benefits, such as improved mood can be felt within a few minutes into a sweaty session on the treadmill, others, like improved memory may take a couple of weeks before they start showing up. This means that the best type of exercise for your brain is any kind of aerobic exercise which you can do on a regular basis for at least an hour at a time.

Depending on the benefits you want to experience, you may try adding taking short walks in the park or jogging to your daily training routine. One study done on people who suffered from severe depression found that spending just 30 minutes on the treadmill walking at a slow pace for 10 days was enough to produce a statistically significant and clinically relevant decrease in depression. Aerobic exercise can also help people who don’t suffer from clinical depression feel a lot less stress by helping to decrease the levels of the body’s stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline.

If you are over the age of 50, one study suggests that you can get the best results from combining resistance and aerobic training, which could involve any type of exercise ranging from HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), such as various circuit training sessions to dynamic yoga, which mixes strength building exercises like push-ups and planks with dance-like movements. There was another study done which gives additional support to that research, which concluded that in adults aged between 60-90, walking for half an hour four days per week for twelve consecutive weeks can strengthen the connectivity in a region in the brain where weakened connections have been related to memory loss.

Scientists are still unsure why this type of training seems to give a boost to our brains, but several studies have suggested that it may have something to do with increased blood flow, which gives our brains new supplies of energy and oxygen. And another study done recently in older women who had potential symptoms of dementia found that doing aerobic training was related to an increase in the size of the hippocampus, which is the area in the brain involved in memory and learning. It has also been suggested that any person in good health over the age of 50 should be doing at least 45 minutes of aerobic training on as many days per week as he/she can.