This 1 Activity Can Improve Your Mood and Mind (and Doesn’t Require Money or Extras)

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If you’re as busy as I am, finding the time to exercise can seem harder than bobsledding up a tree. But according to Dr. Wendy Suzuki, professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University, getting off your couch or up from your desk through your workweek can have an insanely positive influence on your brain. In fact, in her November 2017 TEDWomen talk, Suzuki went so far as to say that physical exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your mind.

Inspiration from experience

Suzuki explains that, like many a modern worker, her work left her pretty inactive physically. She was miserable, had gained weight and discovered the full extent of her weakness on a river rafting trip. Determined for change, she attacked her gym, trying just about every type of class they had. Her extra weight disappeared.

But her mood was better. Energy was better. Even writing her grants was easy, because she could focus.

Suzuki put two and two together and hypothesized that it likely was her exercise that was making a difference. But like any scientist, she wasn’t satisfied. She wanted details, so she started reviewing the literature and conducting new research in her own lab.

Your brain on workouts

Suzuki identified exercise as powerful for the brain for three reasons.

1. Physical activity gives you an immediate jolt.

As Suzuki explains, when you exercise, the brain releases a flood of neurotransmitters. These natural chemicals serve as messengers, helping cells in the body communicate and perform optimally.

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