These conditions are particularly influenced by exercise:
Mood and Depression: Activating the same pathways in the brain as morphine, exercise stimulates the release of our feel-good neurotransmitters: norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Research shows that people who are depressed are more likely to be overweight, and conversely, that weight problems increase the risk for depression. Getting regular exercise will help you to get depression under control and lose the extra pounds—also boosting self-esteem and confidence -- all at once!
Anxiety: Physical activity of just about any kind and at any intensity level can soothe anxiety. In particular, high-intensity aerobic activity has been shown to reduce the incidence of panic attacks.
Focus and Attention: Vigorous exercise boosts brain blood flow and oxygenation, which immediately improves focus and concentration abilities. For those with ADD/ADHD, vigorous daily exercise is a must.
Sleep: Regular exercise is extremely beneficial for insomnia, but don’t do it within 4 hours of hitting the sack. Vigorous exercise late in the evening may be too energizing and keep you awake.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Studies show that exercise is helpful for boosting blood flow and activity in the parts of the brain linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia, such as the hippocampus -- the brain’s memory center.
So how much exercise should you get? I recommend that everyone do the equivalent of walking “like you are late” for 30-45 minutes, four to seven days a week. No brain injuries please! Avoid contact sports like football, hockey, boxing, and soccer (headers). Coordination exercises like dancing and table tennis require new learning, which are extra-beneficial for keeping you sharp as you age!