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Just 1 exercise session can boost brain functioning and mood

Men's Fitness logo Men's Fitness 6/15/2017 Adam Bible

Just 1 exercise session can boost brain functioning and mood © AMI Just 1 exercise session can boost brain functioning and mood A single bout of physical activity has been shown to work wonders for the brain.

Getting the recommended amount of either 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week has been linked to preventing stroke and heart disease, along with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. And hitting the gym more often can increase the chance of getting all swole, and lower your risk of being a weakling.

But a single bout of physical activity (or acute exercise), a recent meta-analysis that appeared in the journal Brain Plasticity found, can offer a large array of positive changes in the brain. Researchers investigated a large amount of recent research that examined what happens to many aspects of brain functioning—cognitive, behavioral, neurophysiological, neurochemical—when people exercise.

Video: Study Links Exercise Levels To Cellular Aging (provided by Wochit News)

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They found two main things: Acute exercise boosted executive function, improved mood, and dropped stress levels; and a single exercise session created widespread changes across the brain at the physiological and chemical level. "The studies presented in this review clearly demonstrate that acute exercise has profound effects on brain chemistry and physiology, which has important implications for cognitive enhancements in healthy populations and symptom remediation in clinical populations," said study co-author Julia C. Basso, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Neural Science at New York University.

To enhance your mood and build a better, healthier brain, we recommend trying out these quick circuit workouts. Even if you can’t get in a full workout each day, try one of these time-saving workouts to get some killer mood-boosting and brain-strengthening benefits.

1. Hold a plank pose for 2 minutes: <p>Forget about all the excess movement and back straining that comes with crunches. The plank pose is the real basic building block for all ab exercises. Just put your elbows on the floor and hold the rest of your body straight, not letting your back or legs sag toward the floor (you can also keep your arms outstretched, but most find that a bit easier). If you can’t make it to two minutes, scope out some other exercises to build up your <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/training/build-muscle/5-exercises-to-work-your-abs-to-exhaustion">abdominal strength</a> and you should get there soon. If you can knock out two minutes easily, simply see how long you can go or add some modifications. Do a regular plank for the first minute, lift your left leg for the second minute, and lift up your right leg for the third. Or, balance your forearms on a foam roller or find some other tough variation.</p><p><strong>PASSING GRADE:</strong> 2 minutes</p><p><a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/training/build-muscle/5-exercises-to-work-your-abs-to-exhaustion">5 exercises to work your abs to exhaustion &gt;&gt;&gt;</a></p> 6 fitness tests you should be able to pass
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