It was a familiar sight around Princeton University… The man with the world’s most powerful brain was walking on the side of the road.
People in cars would often stop and ask if he wanted a ride.
But Albert Einstein always refused. He insisted that the daily mile-and-a-half walk from his home to his university office was crucial to his thinking skills.
Einstein was also an avid bicyclist. In fact, he revolutionized science while on his bike. When asked how he came up with the Theory of Relativity, he said, “I thought of it while riding my bicycle.”
More than a 100 years later, new research confirms what Einstein believed: The power of the mind depends on the fitness of the body.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Researchers looked at about 1,200 people. They assessed the subjects’ cardiovascular fitness by having them speed-walk for two minutes.
Then they checked the subjects’ mental performance. First, they gave the participants brain scans. Then, they tested their memory, reasoning, and mental sharpness.
Subjects with better fitness performed better on the thinking tests. They also had healthier nerve fibers in the white matter area of their brains.
White matter is important for proper communication between neurons.
Dr. Jonathan Repple was lead author of the study. He said that exercise lowers inflammation. And that “is beneficial for brain cells.”
The Best Kind of Exercise for Your Brain
Do some sort of physical activity every day, even if it’s just a walk.
If you are pressed for time, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can get you in great shape in less than 20 minutes a day.
HIIT works better than steady-state cardio like jogging or biking to improve heart strength, circulation, lung capacity, and overall fitness. And it takes just a fraction of the time.
HIIT is adaptable to many activities. You can run, cycle, swim, do calisthenics, or use a rowing, stair climber, or elliptical machine.
Warm up for three to five minutes doing your chosen form of exercise slowly.
Then do the exercise at the highest intensity you can for the next minute.
Slow down for a minute or two to catch your breath. Then go hard again for another minute.
Repeat this process five to seven times. Afterward, do the activity slowly for at least two minutes to cool down.
The idea is to push your body for a brief burst, and then allow it to recover.
Discover what Einstein knew: When your body is active, your brain stays strong.
Editor’s Note: Where are my keys? Why did I come into this room? What is my nephew’s name?
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