The Af­ter­glow

Women's Health (South Africa) - - HEALTH -

The cra­nial perks of your sweat ses­sion are still in play long af­ter you’ve hit the shower. Re­searchers in Ire­land had stu­dents per­form brain-tax­ing tests and then had half the group ride sta­tion­ary bikes for 30 min­utes while the oth­ers chilled out. They then re­peated the test and the stu­dents who ex­er­cised did sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter, while the ones who lazed about showed no im­prove­ment. The likely rea­son: the ped­allers had much higher blood lev­els of BDNF. Be­cause it’s most ac­tive in the hip­pocam­pus, cor­tex and basal fore­brain – ar­eas vi­tal to learn­ing, mem­ory and higher think­ing – surges of the pro­tein may con­trib­ute to why adults who ex­er­cise dis­play sharper mem­ory skills, higher con­cen­tra­tion lev­els, more fluid think­ing and rea­son­ing and greater prob­lem-solv­ing than those who stay seden­tary. POWER UP: Even if you’re ly­ing in a pool of your own sweat, barely able to move, try to think pos­i­tively. Fo­cus on how good your work­out made you feel, even if that’s stretch­ing the truth. Over time, it could help your brain ad­here to those thoughts and make you less re­sis­tant to lac­ing up.

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