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9 Unexpected Ways Exercise Improves Your Life

9 Unexpected Ways Exercise Improves Your Life

At the age of 95, America’s famous fitness and health guru Jack Lalanne was asked: ”Jack, how do you do it? How do you keep up with the pace of daily workouts? Don’t you ever feel tempted to fall off the wagon? His answer: ”You bet I do. But I don’t do it.”

From the age of fifteen to ninety-five, Jack Lalanne exercised every morning without failure; his passion for exercise served him well throughout his entire life. Your probably wondering: how could a man at the age ninety-five bring himself to workout every morning? Well, you’ll know the answer why in this article, as I share with you 10 unexpected ways exercise improves your life.

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1. Exercise Increases Energy

Ironically, movement gives us more energy. If you ever experience days of feeling sluggish and unmotivated, getting yourself to a gym and flexing your body can allow room for more energy. There is a fine line between exhaustion and tiredness. In most cases, ones’s ”tiredness” is little more than a temporary situation, and one that can be changed significantly with a little exercise.

2. Exercise Builds Confidence

We’re not talking about ego inflation. Exercise can build new levels of confidence, zapping anxiety, which then makes it easier for us do the things we normally put off doing. You see, the confidence you receive from exercise not only allows you to feel better about your overall image, but you can apply this new wave of confidence to virtually every area of your life, allowing you to overcome some of the things you may have once avoided. When it comes to taking the next step in your new vocation, exercise may be a key ingredient to your success

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3. Exercise Strengthens Bones

Just like muscle, bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. No matter your age, having healthy bones is vital. As we age, a loss in strength and bone mass is unavoidable, so it’s very important that we work our muscles by the use of heavy weights to maintain as much muscle and bone strength as possible. This in turn will benefit us down the line when it comes to our older years, preventing falls and fractures.

4. Exercise Hypes Your Metabolism

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has been known to eat everything in sight — anything from up to 12,000 calories a day! As hard as he works, he doesn’t expend 12,000 calories in physical activity; yet he doesn’t gain weight. That’s because exercise increases the number of mitochondria in the form of increased muscle. And increased muscle means you burn more energy at rest, which improves your metabolic status. Through exercise, the rate at which you burn calories at rest increases, which allows you to eat better. Not only this, but metabolic improvements translate into disease prevention, as a study of thirty-eight thousand american men showed that physical activity was more potent in preventing heart disease, even whilst maintaining their weight, because of the metabolic advantages.

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5. Exercise Improves The Immune System

Exercise improves the immune system because it helps flush bacteria out of the lungs, decreasing the chances of getting flu, cold or other airborne illnesses. Not only this, but due to the rise in body heat temperature of physical activity, this can prevent bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight off infections. Studies also show that exercise can detect illnesses earlier, because it sends antibodies and white blood cells through the body at a quicker rate, allowing you to fight off potential bacteria coming your way.

6. Exercise Burns ‘Stubborn’ Fat Deposits

The stomach and lower back areas of the body get most of our attention when it comes to looking good and feeling good. Unfortunately, the body wants to hold some extra fat in these two areas — it’s a survival thing. Whilst it’s okay to have a little body fat, we live in a day and age where food isn’t scarce and our demand to look the best we can is more our concern. Exercise is the only way to burn off these stubborn body fat deposits, as diet alone isn’t enough. High-intensity exercise has shown to rid these stubborn body fat deposits most effectively, along with having the correct nutrition.

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7. Exercise Builds Mental Strength And Discipline.

Exercise is a reflection of character and personal values. Pushing yourself to work out takes mental discipline. This mental strength and discipline to workout regularly usually takes effect in other areas of life, also — the discipline to eat correctly. The strength to take on new life challenges. The discipline to be more self-organised and structured. When it comes to working the body and pushing past the pain barriers, we not only develop a better physique, but strength of mind that will stay with us virtually forever.

8. Exercise Keeps You Fit Even If You’re Fat

It’s better to be fat and fit than thin and sick. Those carrying the extra pounds but still take up some form of exercise, are usually better off than the skinny person who does no exercise at all. Exercise mitigates all the negative effects of obesity and visceral fat, health complaints and longevity. So it shows that even if you are fat but take up exercise, you’ll likely live longer than the stick thin model on the magazine covers. 

8. Exercise Improves Longevity

If Jack Lalanne wasn’t a good example of how exercise can improve life span, take another example of 80-year-old body builder Jim Arrington, who is still lifting strong today! There’s no doubt that exercise can improve one’s lifespan significantly; unfortunately, exercise seems only to be a rare habit amongst older individuals. However, studies do show that those who remain consistent with exercise throughout their entire lives, better the chances of still going at it well into their much older years.

9. Exercising Leads To Better Habits

What most people don’t realise is that the habit of regular exercise leads to more empowering habits. A person who is consistent with exercise is usually someone who is consistent in many areas of life that serve them well — nutrition habits, goal setting habits, career habits, etc. Rarely do you find a gym lover not being an overall health lover. If you can motivate yourself to be in the gym regularly, the chances are, you’re able to motivate yourself to do more of the things in life you want. If you think about: those with serious weight issues don’t exercise. Those who don’t exercise aren’t reading health books. Those not reading health books don’t value health. Those who with no value for health don’t have a track record of habits to get in shape. The habit of exercise usually follows a track record of other healthy habits.

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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