Exercise helps the brain to “boot up” efficiently (e.g., raises serotonin levels, increases resilience to stress; decreases hydrocortisone levels). (Guiffre, Kenneth, MD. The Care and Feeding of Your Brain. p 42. NJ:The Career Press, 1999.)

Appropriate brain development requires active physical involvement with the environment. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. p 22-24. NY:Doubleday, 1987, 1989.)

Almost any physical exercise can improve the brain’s performance but some are better than others (e.g., strengthen cerebellum functions). Desirable physical exercise to strengthen brain performance includes three key concepts: balance, strength in the legs, and dexterity. (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. p 184-186. NY:Harmony Books, 2001.)

Regular physical exercise and an increase in intellectual activities seem to offer protection against developing Alzheimer’s disease. Offers specific suggestions for building up leg muscular strength as important for brain health. (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. NY: Harmony Books, 2001, pp 185-186)

Exercise gives the brain many of the things it needs to function at full power. It is known to raise baseline serotonin levels, decrease the amount of hydrocortisone (e.g., in excess it can shrink brain mass through cell death), improve blood flow, and bring the brain into an awake state. (Giuffre, Kenneth, MD., with Teresa Foy DiGeronimo. The Care and Feeding of Your Brain. NJ: Career Press, 1999, pp 235-236)

Exercise has been shown to:

  • Strengthen your cardiovascular system
  • Help regulate glucose and insulin
  • Help to fight obesity
  • Combat stress by dissipating cortisol
  • Improve mood
  • Boost immune system function
  • Strengthen bones
  • Boost motivation
  • Foster neuroplasticity

(Ratey, John J. MD, and Eric Hagerman. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. NY:Little, Brown and Company, 2008.)

Exercise increases levels of l-tryptophan in the brain, a relatively small amino acid that raises serotonin levels. Exercise can increase energy levels and distract you from looping bad thoughts. (Amen, Daniel G., MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. p 184-186. NY:Times Books, 1998.)

Physical exercise (e.g., aerobic or yoga-type stretching) increases blood flow to the frontal cortex, raises levels of free-radical fighters, and triggers the growth of dendrites. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 35-36. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Refer to Care of the Brain for additional information.

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