Physical exercise is important for your entire body. You can become healthier and stronger while at the same time reducing stress levels and improving brain function. Every part of the body benefits from regular exercise. While any exercise is good for you, some exercises are more stimulating for your brain than others. Studies have found that certain exercises repair and build areas of your brain that have to do specifically with memory and learning.
BrainHQ cites a study from Stockholm that found running increased cell proliferation in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the area of the brain that is responsible for learning and memory. The study also found that running released hormones that could lower stress and act as a significant anti-depressant.
Harvard Health suggests that around 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week will help your brain stay healthy and even grow. The study was performed on walkers, but the author suggests that any activity that gets your heart pumping enough to break into a light sweat should have the same effect.
A study from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that white matter in both children and older adult brains became more fibrous and compact with physical exercise. White matter is the network of the brain. When white matter is in good shape your brain will be faster and more efficient. Researchers suggest that any type of movement will improve white matter.
A healthy heart also means a healthy brain. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping which in turn gets your blood flowing. Blood delivers oxygen to muscles throughout the body including the brain. The Fast Company suggests that cardio exercises that keep the heart in good shape will also keep your mind in good shape.
As you prepare for the SAT consider including an exercise routine as part of your studying plan. You may even want to think about joining a sports team or intramural league. Plan for 20-30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
BrainHQ suggests that workouts that demand some coordination or mental engagement are the best for the brain. These include activities such as dancing or circuit routines. However, you should choose an activity you will enjoy doing whether its running, walking, swimming or an aerobics class. When you love your work out routine you will be more likely to stick with it. You could also ask a friend to join you. Accountability will help you continue to work out and make it more fun.
If you didn’t have time to start an exercise routine leading up to the SAT, exercising a few days or even minutes before the exam can help. Studies have shown that the benefits of physical movement are present in the brain even minutes after working out. When you start to feel foggy during the exam do some jumping jacks during a break to get your blood flowing to your brain.
Ultimately, regular aerobic exercise will have the best results for keeping your mind and body healthy and help to improve your SAT scores. Your body will feel healthier, less stressed, less anxious, and your brain will have physically improved. Exercise alone, however, will not guarantee a good score on the SAT. You need to partner it with study, preparation, eating and sleeping well. Exercise is just one facet that can help you perform well on the SAT. It will also help you perform well in school and set up healthy habits that you can continue throughout your life. Regular exercise at this stage in your life can help you grow into a healthy and happy adult. What is your favorite way to exercise?
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