Exercise not just for your body, but also your brain

You know exercise is great for your body and mood. But new research is showing that it can have an equally profound effect on your thinking skills. “Working out is one of the most powerful things you can do to strengthen the brain,” says Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D., a professor of neural science and psychology at New York University. “A single workout triggers physiological changes that improve mental function,” she says. You don’t have to go all out, either. “Taking a walk stimulates the release of serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and endorphins and makes you feel calmer and happier,” Suzuki explains. Those effects last for several hours, but if you hit the gym regularly, they may persist long term. Exercise trains you to push yourself when your body is telling you to stop, and that may help you remain calm when under pressure, research from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, found. Working out also triggers the production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that builds the brain’s resilience to stress. (Shape)