(per Clara Hughes, Canadian Olympian)
The end of summer has brought an abrupt end to my daily swim. That, coupled with a recent bout of Covid and a persistent bronchial cough have left me feeling under the weather. An inspiring TED talk, The Brain-changing Benefits of Exercise, reminded me that what’s good for the body is good for the brain. In this 13-minute presentation, neuroscientist Dr. Wendy Suzuki presents a convincing argument for why “exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today”.  She shares how she completely changed her research focus when she discovered the immediate and powerful impact of exercise on her own life. Suzuki explains how exercise changes our brain chemistry, increasing neurotransmitters that can immediately improve memory, focus, and enhance our mood. Long-term, a regular exercise routine protects the brain and can delay the onset of degenerative disease. 

Canadians have been inspired by Olympic champion Clara Hughes’ story of Walking the Healing Path, the thousands of kilometres she has hiked to help deal with personal trauma and depression. The good news is that you don’t need to walk this distance to reap the benefits of exercise. Dr. Suzuki recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, 3-4 times a week. Friends who are physically active stress the importance of activating the large muscles of the body (i.e., legs and arms) and recording your daily success – your personal best for today that no one can take away! Make sure you watch Suzuki’s TED talk to the very end to reap its full benefits. The good news (for me) is that slowly I am edging back into my daily exercise routine!

Susan Kerwin-Boudreau