To Exercise, or Not

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Last week, I discussed one unexpected benefit of exercise:  It can make you more creative.

Reading that study, made me wonder what other research is out there on the benefits of exercise.

I think we all know that exercise can reduce food cravings, help us lose weight and even strengthen our bones, but did you know that:

  1. Exercise can make you smarter?

Apparently, it can.  John Ratey, author of a book entitled, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain writes that exercise increases chemicals in the brain called growth factors.  Like their name suggests, growth factors help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn and adapt.

Also, in one study published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research, 41 participants were divided randomly into 2 groups for 6 weeks of training. One group participated in standard military PT (physical training) consisting of calisthenics and running. A second group received the same amount of exercise but used Agility as their primary mode of training. Before and after training, each person completed a number of physical and cognitive tests.  Participants in the Agility training group showed improvements in memory as well attention span.

  1. Exercise is linked to higher paying jobs?

This might seem like a stretch, but one study in the Journal of Labor Research found that people who reported exercising 3 or more times per week earned 9% more than their non-exercising counterparts.  Conclusive?  No, but sign me up for that aerobics class just in case!

  1. Exercise can keep you sharp in your later years?

There has been a lot of research done in the last few years on the link between exercise and aging well.  Several long-term studies actually show that exercise can improve mental acuity in the elderly.

One 2013 article studied 2,747 men and women over a 25 year period.  At the beginning, the participants were between 18-30 years of age, and the researchers studied the cardiovascular fitness at year 0 and at year 20.  Cognitive tests were given at year 0 and at year 25.)

Studies also show that regular exercise can decrease the progression of dementia, so it’s never too late to get moving.  In the Finnish Alzheimer Disease Exercise Trial (FINALEX),  210 elderly men and women with Alzheimer’s were divided into 3 groups:  (1) group-based exercise (1 hour, twice a week for a year),  (2) tailored home-based exercise (1 hour, twice a week for a year and (3) a control group receiving usual care, but no exercise.  All groups showed decreased cognitive (mental) and physical functioning, but deterioration was significantly slower in the groups that received exercise, compared to the control group.  The groups receiving exercise also had fewer falls and injuries.

So- bottom line – exercise is good for your brain and your booty.  Excuse me while I go work out 😊.

1 Comment

  1. Jean De Muzio

    Exercise also helps you sleep better. As far as exercise being linked to higher pay, I think that possibly the more educated you are, the better job you’ll get, hence the higher pay. Plus if you’re working as a manual laborer- even in restaurants- you probably don’t have the time or the energy to exercise. Anyway, thanks for the article on exercising! We all need encouragement.

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