Exercise to Boost Your Brain Power

You've heard that cardiovascular exercise is good for the heart. But, what about your brain? Can exercise actually make you smarter?

There's no research to prove that exercise increases your IQ. But, there is mounting evidence that regular aerobic exercise can delay, perhaps even reverse, the decline of age-related brain disorders.

Diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia can be slowed with regular aerobic activity, according to a study at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Evidence shows that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's who exercise on a habitual basis have less brain deterioration in those areas associated with memory than non-exercisers.

The exercises that produce these brain-empowering results are aerobic in nature—those that increase the heart rate—such as jogging, dancing or stair climbing.

Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic-style physical exercise on most days of the week.

Try these activities to kick-off your cardiovascular workout:

Step It Up

Take a walk around your neighborhood. Every five minutes, increase your pace to an easy jog for about one minute, then return to the walk. Even non-runners can jog for a minute, and it's a great way to elevate your heart rate.

Pump Up the Music

Sign-up for a class at a local dance studio, park or recreation facility. Whether you want to try salsa, square dancing or learn the Texas two-step, dancing will give you the aerobic level of fitness that you need to keep those neurons pumping.

Take a Dip

Want something with less impact? Try swimming or water aerobics. The water provides resistance, which will make you work harder, but you won't experience any pressure on your joints

Ready, Set, Cycle

You know the old saying, "It's just like riding a bike!" So, how long has it been since you've saddled up on a two-wheeler? Cycling is another way to get an aerobic workout without the pounding impact of running or jumping. Go ahead and hop on. It will come back to you.

Join In

Try a group fitness class to jump-start your cardiovascular workout regimen. Checkout your area offerings of Jazzercise, step aerobics or kickboxing classes. Your fitness instructor will put together a class that includes an aerobic segment of heart-healthy (and brain-healthy) fitness routines.

Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. Today the program boasts more than 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in all 50 states and 32 countries. The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor.  For more information go to jazzercise.com or call (800) FIT-IS-IT.


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