Your Brain On Cardio

Seeing as we are exactly one month and one day away from the June exam, and you’re probably slightly overwhelmed with your LSAT prep, I thought we could have a little chat about the amount of exercise you are getting on a daily basis. If you just scoffed and asked, “Who has time to exercise when they are studying for the LSAT?!” My answer is, “You should.” We both know that you aren’t studying 24/7, that would just be deleterious to the whole process. Now, you must have at least one good 15-minute block where you are taking a break from your prep, right? So, what you should try and do during that time is a quick bout of cardio.”

It doesn’t have to be running, though that is my cardio of choice. You can work out on the elliptical, take a spin class, do perpetual cartwheels, whatever it takes to get your heartbeat pumping and a light sweat going. Cardio is one of the best things for your brain, and in turn, for your LSAT prep. As your body is glistening with sweat and your face is flushed because of all the extra blood pumping around your body, amazing things are happening in your brain.  All that extra blood is bathing your brain cells in oxygen and glucose, which they direly need to function. The more they receive, the better they perform.”

While you exercise, your muscles are also sending hormones to your brain. These hormones mix with chemicals in your brain known as brain-derived neurotrophic factors (“BDNF”). BDNF is essential in the bran cell growth process. After a recent study, Dr. John Ratey, Ph.D, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said, “BDNF is like fertilizer for the brain. Without it our brains can’t take in new information or make new cells.””

When experienced consistently, the rush of blood and hormones permit your brain to grow. In one study, researchers scanned the brains of people who added exercise to their daily regimen for one hour per day, three days a week, for a duration of six months. The scans showed a distinct increase in the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. Adding cardio literally worked out the part of these peoples’ brains that helped them study!”

So, all I’m saying is, try to add some cardio into your daily regimen if you don’t already have it. Start slow, 15 minutes a day is all you need to get that blood pumping. Maybe you’ll soon see a big boost in your endurance and comprehension during your LSAT prep.”

Happy Studying!”

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