by The Power of Ideas
I think we all can agree that we want our brains to function at optimal capacity. But it can difficult when stress, anxiety and daily life get in the way.
However, research has now found a way to make our brains work better, and it’s surprisingly simple:
Yes, research has found that jogging can do wonders for our brain’s ability to store memories and think efficiently.
Below we’ll talk about the neuroscience of why jogging is so beneficial and we’ll also discuss how can you reap the most benefits from your daily run.
5 ways running boosts your brainpower
1) Running helps your brain grow.
Yep, running has been to shown to stimulate the creation of new nerve cells and blood vessels within the brain, which tends to shrink as a person ages. Also, studies have found that running may help increase the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and learning.
2) Running helps your brain age better.
Jogging may help you fight aging as well, according to a study completed last year. The research showed that regular joggers have greater metabolic efficiency and neural plasticity.
3) Running boosts your memory.
In 2012, a study found that people who had a more fit aerobic system did better on memory tests than those who didn’t. This is adds to earlier research that shows that running boosts your ability to focus, juggle multiple tasks and consider new perspectives.
4) Running conditions your brain to store more fuel.
By jogging every day, you’re training your brain to store fuel in your brain. Researchers believe these larger glycogen stores in the brain may be one of the reasons running boosts cognitive function.
5) Running in nature gives your brain feel good chemicals
Exercise promotes the release of the feel-good chemical, endorphins. Running also helps your brain hold on to mood-boosting neurotransmitters, serotonin and noreponephrine. You may also want to take your runs in nature – a study last year found people in parks experienced brain activity similar to that seen during meditation, while people on streets experienced frustration.
While all this scientific information sounds good, it can be difficult to work out how you should actually run to achieve optimal benefits. Below we talk about how long you should run for, how intense and how often.
The science of running for maximum benefit
The intensity level of jogging should be high enough to raise your breathing and heart rate but at the same time, you don’t want to push yourself too hard. It can strain your body and make you feel uncomfortable.
A good rule of thumb is that you want to be breathing deeply but still be able to talk. If you use a heart rate monitor, try for 50 percent of your maximum heart rate while you are beginning a regular jogging program. Gradually work up to a target heart rate range of 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.
2) How long should you run for?
If you’ve never run before, and don’t have much experience recently with other sports that involve running like soccer or basketball, you should start gradually. Your first run should be 1 to 3 miles at most.
Beginning runners should start with two to four runs per week at about 20 to 30 minutes (or roughly 2 to 4 miles) per run. After a few weeks, you should focus on adding 5 to 10 minutes to one of your runs so that once per week you’e doing a “long” run. This is the best way for new runners to gain endurance and become a faster runner overall
3) How often?
This is one of the most important questions to consider. The answers can vary depending on the person. Research shows a person needs to run at least a couple of times a week to get any progressive benefit from it. Many elite runners run as often as 14 times per week.
The key is that you probably want to do at least two runs per week, and if you can increase it then great. If you’re able to do 14 per week, without putting strain on your body, then more power to you!