Exercise – It’s Good for Your Brain!

Understanding the brain-tastic benefits of exercise.

Your chest gets bigger. Your heart works more efficiently. You feel better and enjoy improved confidence. But working at the gym doesn’t just offer benefits to your physique. According to various sources around the globe, physical exercise offers some pretty impressive benefits for what is arguably one of your most important organs: your brain. In fact, some insist that the real benefits of exercise are how it affects your brain’s ability to work – not the improved appearance of efficiency of your body.

What can a little exercise do for your noggin? Read on to find out.

Boost Your Brain Energy

Unless you’re a superhuman, you’ve probably had some of those days during which your brain simply doesn’t want to work. Did you know you can probably exercise your way out of these brain-dead moments? That’s right. By getting the blood pumping in your body, you increase the blood flow in your brain, which helps it function better, ultimately getting your brain back on track to do all the thinking your life requires. Next time you feel your brain slowing down, skip the energy drink and do a few jumping jacks or push-ups.

Minimal Effort. Only want to do the minimum required to boost your brain’s abilities? Go to the gym for 30 minutes three days a week. And make sure you sweat while you’re there.

Jump the Funk

Ever been in a mental funk that keeps getting you down? Next time that happens, ask yourself when you last worked out. More than likely, it’s been a while. Get your brain into happy gear and get out of your mental funk by hitting the gym. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting for a good attitude to make its way to you. With a hard workout, you can essentially force your body to start producing happy vibes to your brain. So stop moping around and hit the gym. Your brain will appreciate the good vibes you send its way, and your overall demeanor will improve as a result.

Stop Being Anxious

When you have a lot going on and little time to take care of it, it’s a natural response to be anxious. Unfortunately, anxiety does very little to help you get your to-do list completed. So why not kick the anxiety altogether with a trip to the gym? You may think you don’t have time to run a mile or two on the treadmill, but doing so has the potential to get rid of your anxiety, which will ultimately help you complete your list of tasks with greater poise and skill than would have otherwise been possible.

Improve Concentration

It’s not always easy to stay on task. With the many rabbit holes afforded by the Internet, your coworker who always has another joke to tell you, and your family wanting your attention for anything and everything, it can seem impossible to stay focused on a task until it is completed. With exercise, your brain is given the gift of focus. With each repetition in the gym, you have to constantly pay attention to form and technique, which translates to improved focusing ability elsewhere. Exercise also helps you get over the need to go do something, which is another way to improve your focus.

Grow Your Brain

Want to stimulate your brain to grow its processing abilities? Better build some exercise into your daily routine. While it is unclear exactly how it happens, researchers have found that exercise creates neurons in the brain.

Responsible for transferring information through your brain, neurons are most useful in large numbers. Therefore, growing more neurons via exercise gives your brain more ability to transmit and process information, giving you the upper hand when faced with tough questions or dilemmas that require right thinking.

Clash of the Titans: Cardio Vs. Strength Training

When and how hard you should push yourself on both of these vital aspects for your overall good health.

More than likely, you know people who are nuts about cardiovascular exercise. They love running on the treadmill and riding the stationary bikes. Lifting weight? No thanks. And if you know many people, you likely know a few weight lifting folks who would rather be stranded on a desert island than have to spend time doing cardio.

But not you. You’re wise to the ways of overall good health. You know the benefits that are offered through a well-rounded exercise routine that incorporates cardiovascular exercise as well as strength training. You’re just unsure how much to get of each and when each is appropriate.
That’s about to change.

Understanding Your Body

Before going any further in this article, there is something you should know. Everything from this point forward requires you to know what is best for your body. To have this knowledge, you need to spend time in the gym, trying out different routines and intensities to have an idea of how your body responds to certain exercises and how well you like certain exercises. If you’re already armed with this knowledge of your body, you are clear to continue reading.

Order of Operations

One of the biggest questions about strength training and cardiovascular exercise is which should go first in a routine. Ask certain people, and you’ll learn that getting your cardio in upfront helps you burn more calories during your strength training. Ask others, and you’ll hear the exact opposite. And ask a few others, and they’ll say you’ll burn the same amount of calories regardless.

While there is no consensus on which should go first, you need to make sure you get in strength training and cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis. And to make sure you don’t suffer injury during either, spend a few minutes warming up and stretching before each. Warming up is as simple as jogging lightly or performing a few repetitions lifting very light weights. Once the warm-up is over, gently stretch the muscles you plan to work out during your routine.

Separate But Equal

While some advocate performing cardio and strength training in the same routine, others claim separating them is the secret to health and strength. With this, you’re not stuck trying to figure out whether to go with cardio or strength training first or last. Rather, you do nothing but strength training on one day, while you save the cardio for another day. The upside to this is being able to focus all your energies to one pursuit each day. The downside? If you really only like strength training or cardiovascular exercises, spending an entire workout doing what you don’t prefer can seem like torture, and you may wind up skipping those days that are filled with exercises you don’t care for.

Intensity Defined

Once you figure out when you are going to lift weights and when you’re going to head to aerobics class, you’re still stuck with a question: How hard do you work out? A question that can be exceptionally difficult to answer and depends largely on your goals and how you go about your routine.

Doing both cardio and strength training on the same day? You’ll want to push yourself on whatever you choose to do first, but don’t push so hard that you won’t be able to push yourself during the second half of your routine. This may mean you give 80 to 90 percent in your first half so you’ll have the energy to give about that much during the second half.

Planning to split up your cardio and weight lifting on different days? Then you give yourself the opportunity to push your body to its full abilities on both. Choose this path and go ahead and push yourself as hard as you can. With a good night’s rest, you should be ready for the next day’s routine.

Say Hello to a Prostate-Friendly Diet

What you can put in your mouth to protect your prostate gland.

Though only the size of a walnut, your prostate gland can cause some big problems. When it grows too large, you can wind up with enlarged prostate, which can result in all sorts of issues involving your urination habits and urinary tract health. And if cancer sets in, the results can be deadly.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sit around and wonder if you’re going to wind up with prostate disease. By eating the right foods, you can provide maximum protection for your prostate. Though current research has not proven the absolute worth of any food on protecting your prostate health, the medical world is comfortable making the recommendations below. So read on to get the scoop on what foods to include in your prostate-protecting diet.

Hello, Fatty Fish Acids

Want better prostate protection? Your diet is going to have to get a little bit fishy. By consuming fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, you give your prostate an instant and lasting boost of protection against prostate problems. Fish to go with are those living in cold water, such as mackerel, herring, and salmon.

Goodbye, Fatty Foods

While there is nothing wrong with growing your muscles, fatty foods—especially those that are made of animal products—don’t normally do the prostate good. Rather, they give any cancerous cells just what they need to multiply and spread, making it more difficult for you to contain and treat prostate cancer. With regard to enlarged prostate, the jury is still out about whether fatty meats prevent or result in an enlarged prostate.

Hello, Vegetables

Yes, mama was onto something when she told you to eat your vegetables. Because vegetables serve to give your body the various nutrients to stay strong and fit, while also reducing your risk for all sorts of cancer. For prostate-specific protection, go with spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, and beans. These foods contain vitamins and minerals that help your prostate maintain good health. As the highest level of protection against enlarged prostate comes with five or more servings of veggies a day, don’t let up on your vegetable consumption!

Goodbye, Unhealthy Snacks

Fried chicken, pickled beets, and salty potato chips may be just what your taste buds are calling for, but you should ignore their pleading. Why? Because giving into these desires will increase your waistline and promote the production of prostate cancer cells within your body.

Hello, Zinc-Rich Foods

Ready to give your prostate another layer of protection from the threat of enlarged prostate? You’ll need to beef up on your zinc intake. Though you can get it in a tablet, the best sources are baked beans, crab, oysters, lamb, duck, and lean meat. In addition to protecting against an enlarged prostate, zinc may prevent your prostate from damage that leads to prostate cancer.

Tip: Remember Moderation

No matter if you’re eating or drinking, prostate protection and your overall good health depends on moderation. So when you begin jamming your diet full of prostate-protecting foods, don’t begin eating more calories than you can use in a day. For most people, this is approximately 2,000 calories. If you’re unsure how many calories you should be eating, talk with an exercise or nutrition expert.

Additionally, you’ll need to watch your alcohol intake, as excessive drinking may increase your likelihood for prostate cancer. However, two alcoholic drinks per day may actually lower your risk for enlarged prostate, so you shouldn’t put away the alcohol altogether. Just take it easy and avoid excessive drinking at all costs.