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I can’t get past the notion that my day just goes better when I exercise. Call me obsessed if you must…I’m ok with that identity.

I’ve come across some compelling research that proves exercise leads to better brain function. If you’re like me and you love to geek out about topics like this, you can read all the science-y details in this article on the relationship between physical activity and your brain function in Psychology Today: read the article here.

So, now feel super smart for my workout obsession. Who says all obsessions are bad! Not me! (In fact, obsessions are the TRUE motivator that creates persistence, commitment and passion. Learn more about that in this video, “Is Obsession Too Strong a Word?”)

It turns out that the microbiome in your gut (those are the millions of little live cultures that make up your second brain) are actually stronger when you exercise regularly.

So what does this mean and how does it affect you?

First, you need to understand that how your brain functions is directly related to the health and strength of your microbiome.

Unlike the rest of the body, your two brains do not have pain sensors. When inflammation is present in any other area you’ll be warned by feeling pain. When these two areas inflamed the signs are less obvious. That little colony residing behind your belly button is responsible for keeping your bodies internal inflammation at bay.

Brain inflammation is the root cause for mental laps, brain fog, attention issues and in the long run, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

Simply speaking, if your brain is in anyway inflamed, you can point to a weak gut or possibly even a leaky gut.

Exercise does more than just burn calories. Research shows that individuals who participate in regular strenuous activities have more diverse microbes and specifically stronger strains that are specific to lower rates of obesity. Obesity is a symptom of weak or damaged gut health and ALWAYS accompanied by serious internal inflammation.

Health Hack: Increase serious brain activity and lower inflammation by strengthening your microbes.

Get it done: Increase that heart rate and open the sweat valves. Hit the gym. This isn’t conversational pace activity. You need to push your limits and feel the burn. At least twice a week. Bare minimum.

Choose an activity that your body can handle, but consistency is key. Fixing your gut flora is a marathon not a sprint.

Physical activity is an important part in strengthening your gut flora, but not the only part. Watch for my following posts all about introducing additional flora for a diverse microbiome.

You’ll notice your mind begin to sharpen after the first couple weeks. Other benefits to these stronger strains include better digestion, increased metabolism, and better immunity to illness.

Don’t put up with foggy afternoons, or slow recall. Trust your gut to make your brain work for you.

About Lynnae Yates

Lynnae is a wife, mother of 4, a certified health coach and our Resident Health Hacker. She’s completed 4 marathons, with a personal best of 3:06. She ran in the epic 2013 Boston, as well as numerous half marathons and road races. Lynnae also coaches the local Jr. and Sr. High Cross Country teams and High school track team, leading several individuals and teams to the state level.

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