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Optimizing You

This column is the second in a series of lessons on health and reaching your optimum you!

Exercise? You are without excuse!

I’ve heard them all and used them all.

But, we have no excuse not to exercise. None.

Selene Yeager is a professional cyclist who writes as the Fit Chick in Bicycling Magazine. She wrote: “Exercise is like fertilizer for your brain.”

Working out boosts capillary growth in your brain and muscles, which means more oxygen and nutrients get to them to help them work. Scientists writing in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that people finished faster and scored higher on tests of memory, reasoning and planning after 30 minutes on a stationary bike.

This is a vitally important aspect to consider since your brain shrinks as you age and those connections weaken. Arthur Kramer, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois, said his research shows that exercise restores and protects the brain.

Now, that doesn’t mean if a little is good, that longer, harder, higher, tougher is automatically better. The sweet spot for mental acuity benefits is 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense work at about 75 percent of maximum ability.

In other words, it’s better to exercise a little every day than to be a weekend warrior and run a marathon or cycle 100 miles.