If squats are part of your daily routine, then we have good news for you! Doing just a few minutes of this resistance exercise can go a long way towards improving your brain power and making you smarter, according to recent research.
Squats are often used by fitness trainers to improve strength and stability, as they involve multiple muscle groups, such as the calves, quadriceps, abdominals, and glutes. But recent research shows that the benefits of the squat go even further to improve your brain health too, reports the BBC.
Squats and your brain
The research findings show that squats can have a significant effect on your cognitive function. “You don’t need to be huffing and puffing and really pushing yourself hard in the gym to target certain parts of the brain,” explains Prof Damian Bailey from the University of South Wales. “You can do some really neat little exercises that don’t really feel like you’re exercising at all and which stimulate the brain really quite remarkably; you can be smart for the brain – it’s about intelligent exercise.”
According to Prof Bailey, doing squats for just three to five minutes, three times a week can be better for your brain than 30 minutes of steady-state exercises, such as a run or a walk.
Going against gravity
As you squat your head moves up and down against gravity. When this happens, your blood flow speeds up and slows down at a significant rate. It is precisely this change in the blood flow rate in the brain that is responsible for the benefits, explains Prof Bailey.
It’s never too late to start
The best thing about the new findings is that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been doing much exercise. This is because those who are not as fit tend to get the biggest brain benefits from this exercise since their brains are not as used to cushioning the changes in blood flow, reports the BBC.
Bring on the podcasts
What’s also interesting about the research findings is that listening to music, following a podcast, or even watching TV as you are doing squats can actually amplify the exercise’s benefits on your brain function.