Exercising for Brain Benefits

Collectors are known to go to some crazy heights to get a collectible, but if they’re anything like me they like to spend a lot of time hanging out with their collection when they’re not out on a collecting spree. Like with my recent obsession for playing classic PC games on vintage computers, for a time my “going to crazy heights” was over and I was merely “hanging out.”

Recently I haven’t been able to enjoy my hobby as much because I’ve had this mosquito dwelling around my ear whenever I’m not paying attention and it keeps telling me, in a whispery little voice, “exercise, exercise, exercise. Why don’t you exercise you lazy pickle head.

My answer has always been an excuse, until yesterday when I got back into sports. I haven’t felt better in months. It was yesterday morning when I started to feel a bit of inspiration. While eating one of the healthiest breakfasts I’ve had in years, I watched this Ted Talk by Wendy Susuki about how exercising helps new brain cells grow, especially when you get your heart going. It’s a good inspirational talk, but there’s real academic research out there that can explain exercising’s relationship with adult brain growth.

For those wondering, my exercise of choice is tennis. It may have been fate or it may have been a coincidence that my friend offered to play tennis yesterday, either way I might have only done some push ups around the house if she hadn’t called me. I think she could sense they way I was feeling from the air–we’re long-time friends.

To make it easy for you I’ll just break down a list of the things I learned today while reflecting back on my exercise, as someone who really needed it, because, let me tell you, the tennis games I played really were a major work out:

  1. Exercising in the evening when you still have time left in your day makes the rest of that day more memorable as your focus and motivation become stronger.
  2. Exercising, like Wendy says in her Ted Talk, has a long-lasting, energy-boosting effect that has, I believe, given me the energy to write this (I should really be collecting another Ted Talk in my brain).
  3. Perhaps the most awesome thing I learned out of this whole experience has been that IT’S SO FUN TO COLLECT TENNIS BALLS! Seriously!