Boost brain power with exercise

Boosting Brain Power with Exercise

Kemo Marriott, Founder of Brotherhood Training Club, shares his knowledge in boosting brain power through increased movement.

When you’re solving difficult problems, attending meetings and socializing with friends, acquaintances and business interests, it's important for you to be firing on all cylinders. Mentally of course. Yes, continually stimulating your grey matter is incredibly important to ensure optimum brain power. What does boosting brain power mean? Increased memory recall, improved concentration, and improved creativity. A healthy mind lives in a healthy body. That said, the best way to ensure you’re mentally sharp and ready to take on the challenges of the day, is to move and exercise.

Movement

“We have a brain for one reason and one reason only, that’s to produce adaptable and complex movements.” Daniel Wolpert MD, Neuroscientist, Engineer. The above quote is testament to the fact that if we want to improve our brain’s capabilities, we need to move more. For those of us who are sedentary, basic lifting movements are fine to begin with. They will serve to create new connections between the brain and muscles, strengthening new motor patterns. But soon, these movements become automated and new connections fail to occur. Beyond this, it’s important to keep adding to your movement vocabulary with new skills and complex movements.

Memory Improvement

As we age, the size of the hippocampus (a region of the brain) tends to shrink 1–2% annually. A shrinking hippocampus correlates to memory impairment in adulthood. Any shrinking of regions of the brain is clearly undesirable. Can you stop this? Indeed you can. A study of 120 adults was carried out to assess the influence of aerobic exercise on the volume of the hippocampus. 60 were assigned to an aerobic exercise group, whilst 60 were assigned to an aerobic exercise group. The aerobic exercise group demonstrated an increase in volume of the left and right hippocampus by 2.12% and 1.97%, respectively, over the 1 year period. The stretching control group displayed a 1.40% and 1.43% decline over this same interval. The same study tested spatial memory and found that “improvements in memory performance directly related to increased hippocampal volume.” The conclusion reached by the researchers was that aerobic exercise was the main driver for improved memory performance. However, we believe this to be too quick. As we can see, the stretch group was not performing complex movements. Given the more proprioceptive demanding nature of running, we believe a case can be made for complex movement being a key contributor to enhanced cognitive function. This theory has recently found support in research carried out by Tracy and Ross Alloway. There were 2 contol groups. One based in a classroom and one based in a Hatha Yoga group. The training group carried out the following types of exercise:
  • Locomotive Awareness
  • Balance Activities
  • Strength Awareness
The result? A dramatic increase of 50% in working memory for those in the training group.

Increased Dopamine

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for that “feel-good” factor after a bout of usually intense exercise. Dopamine release also allows for the following: Indeed, it’s been found that those who suffer from Parkinson’s have a deficit in dopamine, affecting all of the factors above.

So what can you do to improve brain power?

Simple. Move more. Move regularly. Learn a skill. Get a coach who will help stimulate the release of dopamine by guiding you to learn and achieve feats of movement and exercise. You’ll get smarter!
Kemo Marriott is the Founder of Holistic Motions Health Coaching and Brotherhood Training Club. Click the links to get PRIORITY ACCESS to programs and FREE VIDEO GUIDES.