How long to do cardio exercise to get benefits
Shutterstock Aerobic exercise, or "cardio," might be the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have.
A growing body of research suggests that when we commit to regular workouts that raise our heart rate and get us moving and sweating for a sustained period of time, magical things happen to our body and brain.
We think more clearly, feel better overall, and protect ourselves against some of the cognitive decline that occurs with age, studies suggest.
"Aerobic exercise ... has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress," the authors of an article in the Harvard Medical School blog "Mind and Mood" wrote.
But how long should you be cycling, swimming, walking, or running to reap these benefits?
Overall, research suggests that the magic happens somewhere in the window of about 30-45 minutes at minimum.
Al Bello/Getty Images Aa recent paper looked at the exercise habits of hundreds of breast cancer survivors who were experiencing symptoms like "chemo brain," which involves memory loss and trouble focusing. The researchers found that as little as 30 minutes of an aerobic exercise like walking was linked with significantly better performance on cognitive quizzes.
Another study published in May provided some additional support for that research — it found that in adults aged 60-88, walking for 30 minutes four days a week for 12 weeks appeared to strengthen connectivity in a region of the brain where weakened connections have been linked to memory loss.
Similarly, a pilot study in people with severe depression found that just 30 minutes of treadmill walking for 10 consecutive days appeared to be "sufficient to produce a clinically relevant and statistically significant reduction in depression."
Other research suggests it might be better to do cardio for longer. A study in the British Medical Journal found that in adults over 50, the best results for the brain appeared to come from a routine that combined aerobic exercises with resistance training (i.e. muscle-building exercises like planks and push-ups) and lasted at least 45 minutes.
Researchers still aren't sure why this type of exercise appears to provide a boost to the brain, but some studies suggest it has to do with increased blood flow, which provides our minds with fresh energy and oxygen.
Video: Shaun T's 5-Minute Fat-Blasting Workout
How to Buy Preferred Stock
Changes in your body during third trimester
Heres Further Proof That Los Angeles Is the Next Big Fashion Capital
How to Use a Dead Christmas Tree
How to Date a Divorced Man With Kids
How Pregnancy Affects Your Postpartum Exercise Routine
7 Health Benefits of Yoga for Guys
Should You Take Psoriasis to the Nail Salon
How to Analyse Data Using SPSS
Could This Relaxation Technique Help You Beat Stress
16 Healthier Dishes to Make for Dad This Fathers Day
6 Flat-Belly Foods for a Healthy Gut