Live longer, be smarter and stress less!

by Trevor Aung Than on July 3, 2012

If you’re reading my blog I probably don’t need to preach to the converted – you already know the benefits of exercise, whether you currently exercise or not (yeah, YOU!).

But what you may not know are the benefits of exercise on what some consider the holy grail – living longer – and also on what we all could benefit from – being smarter!

I follow Dr Roy Sugarman (PhD) who is one of the foremost experts on brain health who has awesome tips which we can incorporate into our daily lives to feel better, live longer, be smarter and to squeeze as much as we can from life.

Here are his tips on how to age-proof our brains;

1. Start young, and keep going, and if you start old, exercise and learning then is more important than it was earlier in many ways, no matter how fit you were as a youth.

2. Eat non-processed foods, fresh as you can, with lots of Omega-3 to balance the Omega 6 and keep body-brain inflammation under control.

3. Walk at least 11 000 steps a day, buy a cheap pedometer, it’s a great investment.

4. Stand up and drink lots of water, eat some nuts or berries, and stretch and walk around every 90minutes of your waking life.

5. Do 30 mins of strenuous exercise every day, till you pant, or sweat: do it in bursts of activity with lots of rest periods, life is a series of sprints.

6. Especially if you are old, do resistance training with the heaviest weight you can safely use, and do the exercises by moving, standing, not sitting.

7. Sitting for long periods tells your brain and body it is time to die: Don’t do it, save yourself! Keep moving, the more complex and challenging, the better.

8. Study and learn new things, more complex things, every single day of your life, games are not enough, and TV sucks, unless its education in the extreme (Like ours!).

9. Breath slowly for 20minutes a day, learn diaphragm or yoga breathing to bring your heart rate variability to its maximum and save your life.

10. Make sure you are with other people as much as possible, in meaningful interactions important to you and them as far as possible, hang out with young people too.

One of Sugarman’s colleagues, Dr Paul Taylor, is also a big believer in reducing your bio-age through exercise.  Not only does exercise have the obvious effect of increasing bloodflow and thus oxygen to the brain he also points out the following lesser known brain-based benefits of exercise:

Pretty cool hey?

So exercising not only will help you look better (thus increasing the chances of you picking up on the weekend!), fit into that dress you really really want, drop that notch on the old belt buckle – BUT – it will also make you smarter, feel better and live longer.

Now if those benefits are not enticing enough, I’m not sure what else tickles your goat.  People like Sugarman and Taylor make our industry a really exciting place with their on-going research; we all know what the ’magic-pill’ is.  Have you taken yours today?

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