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Exercise and Cognition


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Poll: Do you exercise? (219 member(s) have cast votes)

Which descibes you?

  1. You exercise and take nootropics. (162 votes [73.97%])

    Percentage of vote: 73.97%

  2. You exercise, but do not take nootropics. (26 votes [11.87%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.87%

  3. You take nootropics, but do not exercise. (24 votes [10.96%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.96%

  4. You do not exercise and do not take nootropics. (7 votes [3.20%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.20%

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#31 lamprecht

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 07:17 PM

I don't know about when you're not exercise, but during exercise I'm as dumb as a rail.
I go to the highest ranked university in my state, I'm not a genius or anything, but when I'm lifting weights I can't even subtract 45lbs and divide by two to know what weights I have to rack on the bar. Luckily I bring my phone, which has a calculator, along with me.

#32 The Human Meteorite

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 03:28 AM

People you see every day who you consider to be smart are smart only because they work to understand a topic, with time that they aren't spending on exercise. Whether it helps mental faculties or not, it will not teach you anything.

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#33 marbleowen

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:38 AM

Exercise is CRUCIAL for executive function.. so yes in a roundabout way it's important for cognition. Not to mention the antidepressive and anxiolytic effects.. It's more important then almost all nootropics.

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#34 Declmem

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 04:04 PM

I exercise a lot (2 hours a day typically), and I have reason to believe it is actually detrimental to many cognitive functions in my case. Some memory issues started popping up around the time I started exercising heavily, and have only now started to dissipate as I'm learning what nutrients to ingest. This is like 4 years later.

However, it is extremely good for depression, energy and not to mention general health. Not so much for anxiety (for me) - I have major anxiety issues and they remain whether I exercise or not.

I see a lot of people recommending depression as a kind of cure-all - don't take this med, you just need exercise! Or, instead of meditation, exercise! Indeed this may be the case a lot of sedentary people, but it can't be applied to everyone, at least not to me.

I don't feel like I've gotten any smarter in the 4+ years I've been working out heavily (both cardio and weights, 6 days a week).

Though, if you want to get smarter because of exercise try this: buy a recumbent bike, set up your a computer and a wireless mouse and keyboard in front of you. Play rosetta stone to learn a new language. I've been doing this for about a year. THIS is the way to become more intelligent while exercising :)

Anyway, general health and/or vanity should be your main motivators when working out, not cognitive enhancement.

All of this based entirely on my own experience, you understand. Take it with a grain of salt.

#35 meursault

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 04:08 PM

Exercise absolutely improves my cognition; and if not directly, then indirectly by better mood, more energy, greater wakefulness, and improved sleep quality.

#36 X_Danny_X

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 07:26 PM

exercise helps keep what you got, also increasing BDNF to certain extent. from that, i dont think it helps much increase cognitive function besides that. exercise is good for other things.

#37 christianbber

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 09:07 PM

Found another article. Looks like 3 months of aerobic exercise.

I would like to find out the parameters.

For example, the classic " do 30 minutes of cardio a day". Well should I be running all out ?? Moderate pace? Is there more of a benefit if I go all out ?

Hillman's study, which will be published later this year, isn't definitive enough to stand alone. But it doesn't have to: it's part of a recent and rapidly growing movement in science showing that exercise can make people smarter. Last week, in a landmark paper, researchers announced that they had coaxed the human brain into growing new nerve cells, a process that for decades had been thought impossible, simply by putting subjects on a three-month aerobic-workout regimen. Other scientists have found that vigorous exercise can cause older nerve cells to form dense, interconnected webs that make the brain run faster and more efficiently. And there are clues that physical activity can stave off the beginnings of Alzheimer's disease, ADHD and other cognitive disorders. No matter your age, it seems, a strong, active body is crucial for building a strong, active mind.



#38 christianbber

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 09:44 PM

Looks like more studies need to be done on quantity of exercise.

But the consensus is among everything I've been reading is aerobic exercise seems to be superior than anerobic in terms of cognitive improvement.

#39 Geovicsha

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 05:26 AM

Started exercising in late 2007 when I was 18 after being overweight most of my life. Did pure cardio and lost about 25kg, but in the midst lost a fair bit of muscle. Have now been in a process for close to 4 years of putting on muscle, losing fat again; I'm currently trying to minimise muscle loss and maximise loss in bodyfat (I still have a high % in that).

It's -- specifically cardio -- an imperative tool for optimal cognition, anti depressive and anti axiolytic. Probably the increase dopamine (I haven't read the previous posts).

When I become a bit lethargic during the winter, I notice an increase proneness in depression which leads to a very vicious cycle.

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#40 AbolishtheState

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 09:33 PM

I have been trying to find which exercises best promote brain health and cognitive enhancement. I have found a few sources of information, such as the excerpt below, but have not been able to find any regimens tailored specifically for those purposes. Does anyone have any suggestions?

' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>http://www.positscience.com/human-brain/brain-fitness/physical-exercise']
Tips for Choosing The Right Physical Exercise
  • In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.
  • Aerobic exercise is great for body and brain: not only does it improve brain function, but it also acts as a "first aid kit" on damaged brain cells.
  • Exercising in the morning before going to work not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also produces increases retention of new information, and better reaction to complex situations.
  • When looking to change up your work out, look for an activity that incorporates coordination along with cardiovascular exercise, such as a dance class.
  • If you like crunching time at the gym alone, opt for circuit work outs, which both quickly spike your heart rate, but also constantly redirect your attention.
  • Hitting a wall or mentally exhausted? Doing a few jumping jacks might reboot your brain.


→ source (external link)


#41 Erstwhile

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 01:29 AM

Hitting a wall or mentally exhausted? Doing a few jumping jacks might reboot your brain.


Well, i'm no exercise expert, but I've heard good things about "neural charge training": http://www.t-nation....charge_training

A rather fantastic user report here: http://tnation.t-nat...ng_side_effects

Keeping in mind that this is from T-nation and the general susceptibility of that site's population to the placebo effect, I'm guessing these exercises will be similar in effect for cognition as doing jumping jacks in the middle of a sluggish day. I suppose this program would be rather more interesting than jumping up and down whilst flapping your arms given the large variety of exercises they let you perform this with...

Edited by Erstwhile, 24 November 2011 - 01:29 AM.

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#42 AbolishtheState

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 02:27 AM

Thank you very much for that link, Erstwhile. That is definitely the best information I have found so far on exercise routines which might enhance cognitive function. Even if the efficacy of neural charge training has been overstated on T-nation, having to learn a complex routine which requires coordination and dexterity--rather than just endurance or strength--will likely increase the cognitive benefits gained. I will try some of these workouts and report my findings.

#43 platypus

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 02:40 PM

I can't help but notice all these claims about " exercise, and running helps with cognition". Yet a colossal amount of intelligent people, NEVER exercise.

Every faculty member who is a very smart person, never exercises.

Those guys will never reach their full potential if they are making such stupid lifestyle choices.

#44 longevitynow

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 06:16 AM

For people in their 20's . Does exercise really help ?

I can't help but notice all these claims about " exercise, and running helps with cognition". Yet a colossal amount of intelligent people, NEVER exercise.

Every faculty member who is a very smart person, never exercises.

I can understand exercising when you're older. But ........ is it really crucial as advertised ?


i've known numerous "very intelligent professors" who don't exercise. But then again the extremely academic set were often the kid who was really bad in sports. They spent a much higher percentage of their youth reading rather than exercising. Exercising for health or fun was not a part of their life when they were growing up. So harder to get into it later. But great circulation is a significant factor in both overall health and brain health. One very intelligent professor friend of mine is overweight (maybe obese), never exercises, his diet is crap, and he's been on anti-depressants for years. If he would exercise I am pretty damn sure that both his mood and cognition would improve. He is in his early to mid 30s now, but I have know him for almost 10 years and he is the same. My mind works pretty well without exercise but I notice it working even better on the days I exercise and during the periods of time I am exercising regularly. I'd challenge any academician who never exercises to exercise regularly for a month and to evaluate their cognitive function before, during and after and I think a very high percentage of them would swear it helped them cognitively.
IMO a super-mind is partially physical and partially the "software" in the brain, developed over decades of using their brains in cognitively challenging ways. The hardware will deteriorate over time, but well-functioning software can compensate for a good part of the gradual decline in hardware. But exercising helps maintain the hardware by insuring good circulation and oxygenation. You can be 80 and still sharp and have never exercised but I believe that regular exercises is probably as good and probably better for keeping your brain functioning than all the nootropics we are taking. Certainly superior to any one of them.
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#45 spider

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:47 PM

Hmmm, we got to differentiate 'cognition' here. I don't belief that execise can increase intelligence significantly. Intelligence is geneticly determined and can improve a bit when the circumstances (nutrition, love, security, education, positive stimulation etc.) are very good during the early years. Intelligent, intellectual people who don't do execise at all and are eating very unhealthy, can probably make a cognitive improvement by improving these life-style changes. However, I think this is an improvement in mental productivity only and is similar to a sleep quality improvement.

#46 matter_of_time

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 05:05 PM

for cognition
meditation = emperor
exercise = king
good nutrition = admiral

supplements are just a part of good nutrition

#47 AbolishtheState

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 02:03 AM

Hmmm, we got to differentiate 'cognition' here. I don't belief that execise can increase intelligence significantly. Intelligence is geneticly determined and can improve a bit when the circumstances (nutrition, love, security, education, positive stimulation etc.) are very good during the early years. Intelligent, intellectual people who don't do execise at all and are eating very unhealthy, can probably make a cognitive improvement by improving these life-style changes. However, I think this is an improvement in mental productivity only and is similar to a sleep quality improvement.


I am going to have to disagree with you there. Intelligence is highly variable and affected by many extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Genetics may determine one's maximum potential, but I believe the subject is a bit more complex than one's genetic makeup. Exercise improves neurochemistry, may lead to neurogenesis, and provides the brain with more oxygen-rich blood. Based on that, I think that at the very least, regular exercise would allow one to optimize their brain's performance and allow one to come closer to their genetically-determined potential. The effects of exercise on mood are also worthy of consideration. It is hard to think clearly if one is depressed or in an unpleasant mental state. Alleviation of negative emotions must provide some benefit to intelligence, one would think.

#48 LeonardElijah

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:57 AM

Thanks. Bump.

#49 Namkcalb

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:24 AM

What intensity is best?

#50 Hologram

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:29 PM

Would exercising late at night have any effects on the cognitive benefits of it?

#51 Renegade

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:04 AM

If exercise (or meditation) came in pill form, it would be the nootropic people have been waiting for.
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#52 Anewlife

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:09 AM

Having recently read a study they said the best form was HIIT or weight training 2-7 hours a week, I would imagine 4 hours is ideal. They said people who did more than 7 hours of exercise per week did not get as good benefits as those who did less.

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#53 Anewlife

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:51 AM

I don't know about when you're not exercise, but during exercise I'm as dumb as a rail.


Your brain is lacking oxygen, if you really go that brain dead with exercise get your ferritin level checked
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#54 BLimitless

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:40 PM

for cognition
meditation = emperor
exercise = king
good nutrition = admiral

supplements are just a part of good nutrition



Let's adjust that analogy:

Good nutrition = soldiers

An emperor without any soldiers = Just another asshole



Would exercising late at night have any effects on the cognitive benefits of it?


We wil have to see but this is certainly a question with a perhaps straightforward answer. You would exercise at the time such that your BDNF would spike as you reached REM sleep at night.

Edited by BLimitless, 08 January 2013 - 12:41 PM.


#55 scitris

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:41 PM

Sport with the right paramters leads to:
-better blood flow
->more nutrients, faster deporting of thrashmolecules, more oxygen
-more oxygen (more than one mechanism of increasing it)
-better respiration
-reducing cortisol and other stress hormones
-building new neurons
-building new synapses
-increasing certain neurotransmitters
-increasing sensibility of many receptors
-better sleep
-higher kinetic intelligence
-more mitochondria
-better neuromuscular processing
-better mood
-better cognition(more or less in all categories)
-a better left-right-hemisphere communication
-a higher stress-tolerance
-more energy (mentally and physically)
-increased self-confidence
-higher insulin-sensitivity
-higher calmness

Intelligence is not only a gene. Intelligence is a very complex phenomenon, that is a product of many different categories of cognition, which are a product of genetic- and environmental-factors. Genetic only says where the limits are but nothing more. They only determine your potential and even with that statement i would be careful. Case: Your intelligence and the right technology could lead to the ability to self-manipulate your genetics. Fiction sure, but not impossible in future. Intelligence as a current attribute is more what it is not because of what we did today, nor yesterday, it is because what happened long ago and over a course of long time till finding his peak in this moment. More than a Joke: thats why babies are stupid and do only cry and fart, hehe. Intelligence is a direct conclusion of your physical and biochemical brain/nervous system. And that Systems are at the beginning fast growing/fast acting and over time their lose their acceleration, then their rate(or speed) but are getting at the same time bigger and complexer and drop then to a point where the speed is slow, but relative constant, but at that point they are so complex that they need not so much energy to reach the same. But that last point cand be form person to person highly variable.It is where consciousness is jumping in to the game and consciousness becomes the main conductor of that last point. The consciousness has the ability to direct focus. And what we focus will get to a part of us. What we see,feel,perceive and associate in every moment writes in our brains. There are many different definitions of intelligence, but i have found what they have all in common and found a satisfying definition for myself. But who think about this hard enough will came to the same conclusion. Intelligence as the methodology of handling knowledge. When i write or say knowledge i dont mean that in everyday meaning. To make it clearer: everybody who knows a bit of robotics knows that all things have to be programmed and many things which are of course and easy for us, not even a part of our consciousness turn out to be really hard. As a robot has to get programmed in every detail and in every little movement, has the brain the same problem. The advantage of the brain is that it learns autonomic. For the robots you have to write code and that code has the information(=knowledge) for this movement. But how it is with us? We have no code, no binaries in our brain which represent "knowledge". But it is knowledge/information even for us, why? because we have to learn it! information/knowledge arnt represented in such simple entities like digits but are coded as a modified physical brain structure. And not more. So everything that triggers a modification in our brain is coding information in our brain and that happens in every moment. All of that is information/knowledge. Not only the street name where your girlfriend lives, also knowing how to lift your arm or doing much more complex movements. Back to the robots: every movement that is a product of other movements, like grabing a cup are thousand of code lines. That demonstrates how complex such a simple thing is in reality and that means that it has high information(=knowledge) content. And that shows how complex a human being has self to be to have the sense that movements that he does is easy and are not even worthy enough to mention or being conscious about them. A complex system that is in relation to another system, really simple only can mean that that second system is much more complex than the first one. Another route to think:Observation of a complex system as being part of a second one leads to the conclusion that the second one is complexer than the first one. Somebody understands me ? My thinking is a little foggy at the moment, but i tried my best to translate my thoughts into words.
I need people that understands me, to exchange information. Is there anybody up there for it?

#56 gearzo

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:02 AM

I definitely feel sharper when i regularly excercise. It seems something is missing when i stop even for a short break. but i also noticed if my diet is too high in carbs i lose my edge.

#57 protoject

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:09 PM

I exercise a lot (2 hours a day typically), and I have reason to believe it is actually detrimental to many cognitive functions in my case. Some memory issues started popping up around the time I started exercising heavily, and have only now started to dissipate as I'm learning what nutrients to ingest. This is like 4 years later.

However, it is extremely good for depression, energy and not to mention general health. Not so much for anxiety (for me) - I have major anxiety issues and they remain whether I exercise or not.

I see a lot of people recommending depression as a kind of cure-all - don't take this med, you just need exercise! Or, instead of meditation, exercise! Indeed this may be the case a lot of sedentary people, but it can't be applied to everyone, at least not to me.

I don't feel like I've gotten any smarter in the 4+ years I've been working out heavily (both cardio and weights, 6 days a week).


I have similar experience as you, except I didn't excersise for 4 years. I was wondering if perhaps I wasn't eating enough food and that perhaps this affected the outcome of the excersise. . . . I dunno though, I always feel dumber/ more cranky after excersise , for the most part. Maybe I need to do it more consistently (i.e. daily instead of a few times a week) and more moderate....?

#58 scitris

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 05:10 PM

how does your diet look lite? what do you eat on regular basis? do you follow a special-diet like paleo?
how does your exercise look like?

#59 Godof Smallthings

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 11:06 AM

In my experience daily moderate exercise is better for my overall well-being and leaves more energy for the rest of my day.

There is no reason to train extremely hard unless you are seriously looking to compete or just happen to enjoy it. Just walking and light jogging are fine if your goal is to be in shape and derive the benefits.

Challenging movement patterns also give the brain a good workout - dance, aerobics, intricate martial arts, juggling, playing around with a football or tennis ball, etc.

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#60 Wingless

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 12:08 AM

I have been on a routine weight-training program since early summer, and I honestly don't think exercise has proven to be particularly beneficial for my mental health. In fact, some days it seems to make it worse. I've also been able to experiment with how exercising impacts my academic performance (I often weight train right before one of my night classes)

 

Let me preface by saying that I don't think I'm particularly prone to overtraining, and I tend to get enough sleep and eat enough protein. Though I do admit, I have only gained about 5 lbs (165 - > 170 lbs) in the last 7 months of consistent weight training, so make of that what you will.

 

Before this regimen, I used to do a lot of cardio...which made almost always made me feel awful (tried long distance endurance running and HIIT sprints), which is why I focus almost exclusively on weight lifting.

 

In my experience, nootropics/supplements/psychedelic drugs have had the most profound effects on my mental health, followed very closely by mindfulness/vipasanna meditation, with exercise lagging far behind everything else.

 

The only exercise which makes me feel good after is deadlifts and squats (as long as I don't overexert myself), but they're so stressing on my body that I can't do them more than 2-3 times a week. In fact, sometimes they have made me flat out puke. I suspect the only reason these particular workouts have benefited me are due to the endorphin highs...

 

I'm not suggesting exercise doesn't have it's merits, but I think the mental health benefits aren't exactly clear cut.

 

My best moments of mental functioning (lucidity, creativity, emotion processing, overall brain power, etc) have almost always been after doses of a particular substance, Piracetam being one of them.

 

 

 


Edited by Wingless, 31 January 2016 - 12:26 AM.





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