MAXIM’s resident Clinical Nutritionist, Brooke Benson Campbell (BHSC Nut Med), explains why exercise is the key to a healthy brain…
There are plenty of reasons to be physically active — losing weight, lowering blood pressure, decreasing the odds of developing heart disease and diabetes, lowering the incidence of stroke… the list goes on.
However, new research suggests that exercise isn’t all about your body. In fact, scientists believe that the real reason we, as humans, are primed to exercise is to support brain health, meaning that the benefits of physical activity are more than just muscle-deep. And it’s not just modern science that is convinced. Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla — all celebrated figures of evolutionary and industrial development, and all known for their extraordinary brain power AND addiction to exercise. Einstein’s daily 5km walk was an essential part of his daily regime, Darwin allowed for three 45-minute walks throughout the day to enhance brain function and creativity, while Tesla reportedly performed nightly foot exercises with the goal of improving brain function, and walked up to 16km per day. He was even reported to perform daily exercises in the bath to capitalize on every opportunity for movement. And while a daily synchronized swimming bathroom regime may not be an option, the takeaway is clear. To change your brain, move your body.
Hunting, running, foraging and climbing — humans evolved to move and those movements encouraged brain growth that gradually separated us from other animals. But how did this happen? How did the brain transform and mature to develop creativity, emotional intelligence, and heightened memory? New research has shown that physical activity stresses our brains in the same way that it stresses our muscles. Like active muscle fibers, neurons of the brain break down then recover to become stronger and more resilient with exercise, making physical activity the key to improved performance. So, how does physical activity boost brainpower? Well, it…
1 BOOSTS MEMORY RETENTION & LEARNING CAPACITY
In a study performed at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise (the kind that gets your heart pumping and sweat glands flowing) appears to increase the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in memory and recall. Many studies have supported this claim, suggesting that people who exercise have a larger prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex (parts of the brain that control thinking and learning). A study published in Brain and Cognition found that after just 30 minutes of completing an easy 30-minute bike ride, subjects completed cognitive skills test faster than they did before exercising, and just as accurately. This effect lasted for nearly 60 minutes of post-activity.
The brain literally grows each time you lace up your Nikes and pound the pavement. In fact, German researchers showed that walking or cycling during, but not before, learning helped new foreign language vocabulary to stick, so bringing your work to the treadmill may be the answer. If this sounds too hard, another German study found that just 10 minutes of playful coordination skill (like bouncing two balls at the same time) improved attention span in a large group of teenagers for four hours post-activity. An argument for the office hand-ball tournament.
Interestingly, different types of physical activity appear to enhance different areas of memory. Liu-Ambrose compared the effects of walking versus weight-training in brain enhancement for one hour twice a week over a six-month period. While both groups improved their spatial memory (in charge of things like where you left that pesky piece of paper on your paper-filled desk), those who walked also saw improvements in episodic memory (the ability to recall an event or episode in your life). In contrast, people who lifted weights saw greater gains in associative memory (remembering a name when you see a familiar face) while a stretching group saw no memory gains.
Another experiment in 2007 showed that cognitive flexibility and learning improves after just one 35 minute treadmill session at between 60-70% of maximum heart rate. Cognitive flexibility allows us to shift thinking and switch between topics, and the trait correlates with high performance, so if you have an afternoon pitch to perfect, a lunchtime run could be a smart idea.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
“YOU JUST KILLED OSAMA BIN LADEN.”
As this month marks the 10th anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, former U.S. Navy SEAL ROBERT O’NEILL shares his incredible story about the night he fired the shots that killed the al-Qaeda leader. In this edited extract from his book The Operator, O’Neill tells us how eliminating the world’s most wanted terrorist, during the raid at his Abbottabad compound on May 1, 2011, all went down…
The successful pageant model, talented artist, rising actress and reigning Miss Bikini United States, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, proves you can achieve absolutely anything with the right mindset...
— Eric Bana — THE DRY LOOK
Eric Bana may be the star of Robert Connolly’s mystery thriller The Dry, one of the biggest Australian box office hits in years, but it’s his suave wardrobe that’s the real scene stealer. To coincide with the film’s digital release, MAXIM sat down with AFI award-winning costume designer CAPPI IRELAND (above) to talk practical dressing, wheat farmers and Tom Ford sunglasses…
METEOR ON THE HORIZON
Bugatti’s radically-lightweight new fireball the Bolide...
The ARCHITECT'S ELIXIR
One-hundred and fifty collectors have the opportunity to acquire HENNESSY X.O decanters created by the great Frank Gehry...
MARATHON MAN Turning Right At The Garden Gate
Ultra-runner KAY BRETZ beat the race record of Australia’s Big Red Run by more than five hours and was awarded the Ultra Performance of the Year Award at the 24-hour world championships in France — but it took a significant change in mindset to do it. In this excerpt from his latest book, the elite athlete shares his amazing personal journey on overcoming physical, mental and professional challenges to achieve his success…
She is wild and free. She was born to travel. She is a model, influencer, media assistant, yoga teacher and personal trainer, but her goal is to work less and live more. She is a nomad with a strong need to experience and understand the world around us. And she prefers to do it all while wearing only her bikinis…
Sydney-based couple SCOTT & MINA O’NEILL retired at 28 after building a $20 million commercial property portfolio in just 10 years. They also set up their own business, to help thousands of others on the same road, and in this edited extract from their new book they share some insight on how you can do it, too…
Pot pesto, hemp-smoked soft cheese, craft cocktails, pizza with marijuananara sauce, weed flour and even Hashish Fudge. Yes, we take a look at the future of “high dining” and the talented chefs leaving their jobs at esteemed restaurants to produce cutting-edge cannabis concoctions…
Training For Your Life
MAXIM fitness guru ALEXA TOWERSEY takes you on a personal journey on how fitness can be beneficial to your mental health…
Ditch Your Dusty Workout Excuses
The first step to fitness? Conquering your can’ts.
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to reap the health benefits of exercise.
Beyond Human: The Genetic Shift In Bodybuilding
The Bodybuilding Ecosystem People often fail to grasp the significance of turning points, if even aware of such events.
Lift Your Own Spirits
We all feel down now and then, especially lately. These techniques can help you bounce back.
Booze and Lose Muscle
Alcohol consumption will likely decrease muscle size and strength.
Classic Training Camp
I guess it all started with falling in love with the gym and training. I played a lot of sports growing up. My parents were those parents where if I said I wanted to try something, they put me in it.
Best Squatting Techniques for Maximum Muscle Growth
The squat’s radical capability to boost muscle growth and strength stems from the large muscle groups activated during the squat, such as the quadriceps and gluteus maximus.
Creatine: The Best Forms
New products and formulations are introduced to the supplement market every day. However, it is very rare for a product or especially an ingredient to create noteworthy evolution in supplement performance. Arguably, the greatest leap up this axiomatic evolutionary ladder occurred with the advent of creatine supplements in the 1990s. Creatine has proven over and over to be “the real deal” in clinical research and broscience. It’s a muscle-building, performance-enhancing supplement that nearly all athletes should use.
Crush Your Excuses!
Eliminate the Top 6 and Get the Physique You’ve Always Wanted “Excuses are just lies we tell ourselves.” –Unknown
A New Mutant Rises!
Meet New Pro Nick ‘The Mutant’ Walker