Working Out: A Very Basic How-To
You know that exercising your body is good for your health.
It turns out, it’s very good for your brain health, too. Working out pumps blood to your brain, and research suggests this can keep your cognition strong over time.
A research trial on physical activity and cognition found that people who were active over a 6 month period improved their cognition. And, impressively, the effects of the program lasted over 18 months.
If you haven’t started a workout program yet, it’s okay to start small.
The phrase “work out” can be daunting. You might picture a gym machine you don’t know how to use. Working out at the gym is great for getting your heart rate up and building muscle. But, if you haven’t started a workout program yet, it’s 100% okay to start small.
It’s as simple as finding 5 minutes in your day and moving your body.
How do I start working out?
Try 5-10 minutes of light activity like walking, marching in place, stationary bike, or light jogging.
Continue with movements that take your joints through a full range of motion:
- Arm circles: 30 seconds
- Walking high knees: 30 seconds
- Standing trunk twist: 30 seconds
If you have another 5 minutes, do a cool down of 5 minutes of walking at a normal pace to return your heart rate back to normal.
Once you master moving your body for short periods, you can add more time. For now, it’s okay to smart small.
- Lautenschlager, N. T., Cox, K. L., Flicker, L., Foster, J. K., Bockxmeer, F. M. V., Xiao, J., … Almeida, O. P. (2008). Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function in Older Adults at Risk for Alzheimer Disease. Jama, 300(9), 1027. doi: 10.1001/jama.300.9.1027