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Ten to Go: Love your brain

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Brian, 33, sustained a brain injury when he was in an accident at age 27. He makes progress daily through exercise rehabilitation.

Brian, 33, sustained a brain injury when he was in an accident at age 27. He makes progress daily through exercise rehabilitation. | Benjamin Weatherston

It’s well known that exercise is good for the mind, body and soul. But we’re learning more every day about exactly how exercise benefits our most complex organ, the brain.

Exercise sets off “pleasure chemicals” such as serotonin and dopamine within our nervous system, thus affecting mood, vitality, alertness and feelings of well-being – curbing depression and anxiety. In some cases of clinical depression, exercise has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant pills. So, instead of popping those pills, pencil in some exercise.

Other brain-related benefits of exercise include:

• elevation of your perception of self worth

• prevention of degeneration of the hippocampus (in the middle of the brain)

• cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance

• increased creativity.

Thirty minutes of moderate exercise at least three times per week is highly recommended for a healthy brain.

An amazing example of the power of the brain’s regenerative abilities – and the power of the human spirit – is a young man named Brian, 33, (left) who sustained a traumatic brain injury when he was in a motor vehicle accident at age 27. He struggles with alertness, motivation, fatigue and impulsivity.

Brian is making tremendous progress daily through exercise rehabilitation.

His routine consists of swimming, walking and a regimented exercise routine coupled with frequent sessions with a nutritional counselor.

Brian forces us to reconsider how we define success. As he says, “It’s not just reaching goals we have set for ourselves but taking small steps toward life which make it worth living every day.”

Demond Johnson

The author, Demond Johnson, is a retired combat veteran who coordinated the U.S. Army’s Weight Control Program. He owns A2 Fitness Professionals. Contact him at demond@a2fitnesspro.com or 734-222-5080.

3 Comments

  1. Jody

    November 3, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    I feel totally different when I skip exercise during “busy” periods of time. I can’t think as clearly, get tense and sore, and feel sluggish and tired. Exercise is the LAST thing I should be skipping when I am busy. It improves my mood, releases my tension, and clears away the fog, making my busy times more productive! Thank you for posting this article!

  2. Demond Johnson

    Demond Johnson

    November 4, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Jody,

    First, let me thank you for reading and commenting! I could go on and on about the benefits of exercise however, you’re already all over things! You have found the fun factor of fitness and your reward is health and wellness! If you’re ever looking for an exercise partner, you know where you can find one.

    • Jody

      November 4, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      🙂 you are a fitness professional but you are a guy who sees his clients as friends to challenge and inspire! You make it personal and that is your cutting edge! I love A2Fitness Professionals and I thank Camille Justine Allen for taking me to your gym back in June! It is changing my life.

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