We all know that exercise is good for us. It helps us lose weight, stave off degenerative diseases, and maintain our physical abilities well into old age. Primitive man, out of necessity, engaged in the ever-present tasks of hunting and gathering, but soon after the advent of agriculture—which made greater periods of rest possible, for the first time—it became clear that exercise must remain a part of our lives. There is evidence of recorded exercise routines as early as 2500 B.C., in the form of Cong Fu gymnastics in ancient China, which was prescribed to ward off certain diseases. The benefits of purposeful movement for our bodies have been known for thousands of years.
Today, though, sedentary lifestyles are more prevalent than ever. For many of us, both work and play involve sitting at a desk for hours at a time—we spend eight hours at a desk at work, and then make our way to our couches or desks or beds at home to relax. As mechanical automation becomes more sophisticated and prevalent, our physical workloads will continue to grow less, and our bodies, more neglected. For many, exercise is simply not a part of life—particularly for those who work exclusively with their minds, rather than with their bodies.
But what if I told you that exercise not only strengthens your body, but your mind as well? Progress in medical research has confirmed that the brain is as affected by exercise as any muscle—it is as important for thinking as it is for lifting, especially as we age. Read on to discover 8 ways exercise gives you a better brain, and find the motivation to stay in shape, no matter what type of work you do.