Build Your Best Fitness Tool - How You Can Strengthen Your Brain
If your child struggles with a learning disability and you want to help him/her improve their reading skills, you give them more to read, right?
WRONG – new science says that incorporating movement patterns and activity can actually build the neuroplasticity in brain cells which in turn can give them more brain power to tackle reading.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s capacity to re-organize its connections in response to changes in our environment. This fascinating actuality counters a long held belief that we were born with a finite number of brain cells and as we age we lose them. Scientists now know that the brain’s ability to rewire itself can happen at any age.
This is great news for all people looking to improve their fitness or even general movement patterns in every day life. Not only can your brain make physiological changes to improve your performance, the act of movement and exercise is the very thing that makes your brain stronger.
By consistently training different movement, coordination, balance and strength patterns, you are enhancing your brain’s ability to focus, stay disciplined and create healthy habits. In turn, your increased commitment to exercise keeps the whole process moving in a strengthening circle.
In the second of our three part series, we encourage you to switch on your brain when you train. As you work to improve your overall fitness, remember that your brain is an important factor of success. Check out these things to consider about your strongest fitness tool:
Dehydration is one of your brain’s biggest enemies – While your brain is 73% water, just 2% dehydration affects your memory, attention and various cognitive skills. In fact, 90 minutes of sweating can shrink your brain temporarily equal to a year of aging.
Remember neuroplasticity? Your brain’s neurons connect with about 40,000 synapses – exercise can increase these numbers.
Your brain can process information faster than a formula one racecar’s top speed.
You produce approximately 50,000 thoughts a day. A great number to show how quickly and adeptly your brain is processing information. Yet studies show for many of us, 70% of those thoughts are negative.
- Focus is key. Whether training in the gym or preparing a healthy lunch, you’ll have better results and a stronger brain when you avoid multi-tasking and focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking has been shown to decrease attention span and short term memory.
Brain cells will do anything to survive. This includes cannibalizing other brain cells if the brain is starving from dieting.
Just as training on a bike makes you a better cyclist, using your brain in positive ways can strengthen it. You want more discipline? Force yourself to remained disciplined on a task and work it to completion. You want to develop healthy habits? Give yourself the opportunity for success by selecting small behavior changes that are more easily achieved and build from there.
This month, try the “Choose One – Lose One" Challenge. Pick one small habit that is holding you back and get rid of it. Pick one small habit that can get you closer to where you want to be and add it.
Consider things you can do to improve your brain’s performance. It might be as simple as concentrating on positive thoughts or indulging in 5 minutes of meditative time each day to refresh your mind.
Then, share your progress on our Facebook page. You’ll likely find that your greatest results in the gym truly are mind over matter.