This 2-Minute Technique Can Seriously Supercharge Your Brain Health
From supporting mobility to increasing energy levels to reducing stress and more, it's no secret that exercise is a major contributor to overall health and well-being. And while many of us are familiar with these impressive benefits, it can be challenging to find enough time to dedicate to movement. But good news: It turns out, two minutes may be all you need to reap the brain health perks of exercise.
As neuroscientist, associate professor of kinesiology, and author of Move the Body, Heal the Mind Jennifer Heisz, Ph.D., shares on the mindbodygreen podcast, a "two-minute movement break is all it takes to restore and replenish the brain of its vital nutrients." Below, find all the details on how to incorporate these mini movement breaks into your daily routine.
A 2-minute technique to supercharge brain health.
"Prolonged sitting starves the brain of oxygenated blood flow," Heisz explains, so for those of us who sit for a large chunk of the day, it's important to regularly break up those periods of sedentariness with some kind of movement. Her recommended cadence: Every 30 minutes, get up and move for two minutes.
And if you're able to add a little more time to your movement break, five minutes seems to do the trick. In fact, Heisz led a study that demonstrated the effects of exercise breaks during university lectures1: "We had the students do five minutes of exercise—jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks—and we compared that to a break where they were just on their phones looking at social media, versus no break. The students who took the exercise break were able to stay focused on the lecture. They had less mind-wandering, and they were better able to remember that material later when they were tested."
As for the type of movement, Heisz says you can do jumping jacks or burpees, if that's available to you. But "it doesn't have to be full-out," she says. "It can just be a stretch, a walk around the block, just some sort of movement to get the body activated and the blood flowing." That way, you can stimulate circulation and replenish your brain with those vital nutrients, leading to balanced energy, enhanced creativity, and a positive mood.
Of course, you can help support those vital brain nutrients with foods and supplements as well (see here for experts' all-time favorite food for a positive mood). A robust multivitamin can also make sure your daily micronutrient needs are covered—especially those B vitamins, which help provide energy to nerve cells, promote brain cell performance2 and overall cognitive function, and even synthesize neurotransmitters3 that regulate your mood, happiness, motivation, focus, and more.* mindbodygreen's ultimate multivitamin+ includes a full array of bioactive B vitamins to help support your energy, mood, and mental clarity needs.*
As it turns out, adding regular two- to five-minute breaks into periods of sitting is the key to supercharging brain health. See? It isn't so difficult to get your brain to love exercise. "We think we have to do a full-on workout or a 30-minute run, but I think baby steps in the right direction is really what people should be aiming for," says Heisz.
Olivia Giacomo is mbg's Social Media Associate. A recent graduate from Georgetown University, she has previously written for LLM Law Review.