The Olympics and Your Brain!

July 28, 2012: Lily Zhang of the U.S. serves to Croatia's Cornelia Molnar during their women's singles first round table tennis match in the ExCel venue at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Reuters)

Those Olympic athletes are amazing! Everyday, every minute we are watching astounding feats of body and mind. Daring, enduring, dominating…water polo? So many inspiring stories…what must we do? Get off the couch and run or swim! Do something!

According to Rodolfo Savica, M.D., a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, “We know that 30 minutes of aerobic activity of any kind five times per week is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. So, it is important to stay active often and as early as you can. And if the Olympic Games push people to get active, we definitely endorse that.”

Exercise also makes us happier and less stressed. Do I hear endorphins? Serotonin? While swimming is lighter on the joints than running, some other sports that provide powerful aerobic exercise are:

basketball
cycling
handball
hockey
race walking
tennis

And other sports featured in the Olympics can have positive benefits on brain function, are:
Rowing
Canoeing
Fencing
Tae-kwon-do
Badminton
Ping-pong (Table Tennis)

Rowing and canoeing, especially in rough waters, provide cardiovascular workouts which benefit the brain. And even though hand-eye coordination, agility and attention to detail are needed when it comes to ping-pong, tae-kwon-do, fencing and badminton, the movement which is required to play these sports is what helps boost the brain to work at its full potential.

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