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We all know (or should know) that exercise has health benefits for our bodies. Scientific American recently explained how exercise also benefits the brain, leaving exercisers clear headed and more creative.

Though the relationship is not entirely understood, part of the reason for such benefits comes from blood flow. When exercising, our blood pressure and blood flow increases to provide energy to our muscles. This blood flow increases everywhere – including the brain. More blood = more oxygen and more energy. It’s like supercharging the brain.

Another reason: The hippocampus – the part of the brain critical for learning and memory – revs up during exercise. Scientific American mentioned studies showing that exercise can improve memory and prevent memory loss:

For instance, studies in mice have revealed that running enhances spatial learning. Other recent work indicates that aerobic exercise can actually reverse hippocampal shrinkage, which occurs naturally with age, and consequently boost memory in older adults. Yet another study found that students who exercise perform better on tests than their less athletic peers.

– Justin Rhodes via Scientific American

This post really isn’t about the law, but I’m a lawyer and I’m around lawyers. What I see of lawyers is that we’re busy. We’re managing cases, consulting with clients, deposing experts, preparing for trial. It’s a stressful job. But it’s not the only one: The same goes for doctors, teachers, law enforcement, military, emergency responders, etc.

I didn’t used to exercise, but started exercising more regularly almost exactly a year ago. Not only have my pants dropped a few sizes, but I find it to be a great stress reliever. No computer. No cell phone. No distractions. Just time to run or lift or swim or bike… and think.

So, if you’re having a mental block, get off your rump and work up a sweat. You might just find your answer.

H/T: Thorin Klosowski at lifehacker.

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© Copyright 2013 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.

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