Need some motivation to get off the couch and get moving? If knowing that exercise helps you perform better under stress and can improve your mood for up to 12 hours isn’t enough, new research offers us another reason to squeeze in a sweat sesh. It turns out, working out for as little as two minutes can boost your brain function.
A meta-review of 13 studies finds evidence that “aerobic exercise for two minutes to one hour” at moderate to high intensity improves attention, concentration and learning, and memory functions for up to two hours. So in addition to all the wonderful benefits working out has for the body, it’s also doing impressive things to our minds. As one researcher simply put it, “Exercise makes you smarter.”
So what do we need to do to reap these benefits? Researchers explain that the key to maximizing the mental performance is exercising “before and in close connection” to whatever you need to do. That means getting your vigorous physical activity in and giving yourself a few minutes to recover and stop sweating before you tackle your task with extra brain power.
- Just remember, the exercise has to be aerobic, like doing burpees, running, or anything that gets your heart rate up. As for how long, the results of the studies were varied, one saw benefits in as little as two minutes, others up to 20, so if you have the time, go for 10 minutes because you’ll be improving your health and fitness in the process.