American and Swedish researchers have recently provided proofs that physical activity increases the capacity of the brain. Factors such as our capability to concentrate on our tasks, our capability to memorize, and our creativity have been proven to be enhanced by regular physical activity. The findings have been published in the book ”Hjärnstark” by the Swedish psychologist and medical doctor Anders Hansen.
How much physical activity is needed? Running at least three times a week for about 45 minutes each time in a pace where conversation is possible but tense seems to be the most efficient way to increase one’s brain capacity.
Why the brain’s capacity is increased by pulse increasing activities such as the typical endurance sports; running, cycling, and swimming; is not fully understood. Clear is that an increased blood flow in the entire body leads to a circa 20% increased blood flow to the brain. The increased blood flow to the brain has been shown to stimulate the development and maintenance of brain cells of the hippocampus – an area of our brain responsible for our memory functions.
I love running and I run almost everyday. I agree to the fact that running makes us more creative. Often when I run I come home with great ideas. Ideas on new topics to write about (such as this one), new ideas on how to grasp a problem, or ideas on new things that I want to learn and explore. It is into the second-half, or more to the end, of my 45-minute distance runs that great ideas pop-up. Usually the mind is a bit here and there in the beginning of the run. But since running is like meditation in its monoton form, the mind settles, focuses on the running, and then when it finally is rested, great ideas develop.
With the knowledge that running makes me smarter, more creative, and helps me concentrate better on my work, I will enjoy my runs even more. So, keep on moving. Do gymnastics, cycle, jogg, and run and remember to engage your children.