When many of us imagine exercise we envisage sweaty gym clothes, aching muscles and the axiom that is the permission to wear clothes fit for the 70’s without adequate shame. But what biological changes are affected? Can exercise increase life-span and act as a nootropic? Does this grueling hard work really pay off? Let’s find out.
The range of effects and the mechanisms of these effects are both diverse and clinically quantifiable. If for a moment you doubt that exercise can benefit your physical and mental health – go stand in the corner until you’ve reconsidered your position on the subject. Exercise improves blood flow to all extremities including the brain and increase resting blood oxygenation and hence increases cerebral metabolism in a similar context to vinpocetine and picamilon. It also modulates a number of monoamine neurotransmitters – being shown in clinical studies to increase serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels aswell as lowering cortisol saturation. Regular and long-term exercise has also been shown to increase the buffer capacity of telomeres: a chromosomal cap which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighbouring chromosomes. Exercise can also boost testosterone levels, resting metabolic rate and muscle mass, not to mention aid directly in weight loss through both calorie burning and mobilisation of adipose tissues.
•Increases life-span and reduces the risk of all types of cancer
•Helps regulate glucose levels in diabetic patients
•Aids in weight loss
•Acts as a potent antidepressant via monoamine modulation
•Reduces stress and increases energy levels
•Improves blood flow to extremities
•Can increase testosterone levels
•Increases cerebral metabolism via increased oxygenation
•Increases lung capacity
• Improves heart strength and health.
•Bolsters the immune system
High impact forms of exercise can contribute towards both bone and ligament disorders and as such low impact sports and exercises are recommended. An example of this would be treadmill incline walking, or cross training juxtaposed with jogging or star jumps. Excessive exercise can lower immuno-response, cause a decline in heart health and shorten life-span – everything in moderation.
A combined total of 30 – 60 minutes daily exercise, five days a week is recommended for optimal health benefits. Remember that this duration can be achieved in separate smaller chunks and one should avoid being daunted by the idea of a solid 30-60 minute block of exercise.
The demotivated amongst you will cringe from what I’m about to say, but there is little hiding from this truth. Exercise for me is the king of nootropics and health boosters. At the peak of my exercise routine I was running for 30 minutes five times a week as well as doing resistance training. My energy levels were and still are significantly improved, cognition and memory are vastly improved, mood is alleviated beyond any other means. Hands down the best nootropic. Treat yourself and incorporate exercise in your daily routine if you’ve not already.