Why Do So Many Successful People Exercise Aerobically? Aerobic Exercise Boosts Brain Function

Rich Habits

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95% of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study exercised aerobically 30 minutes or more a day.

I found this statistic shocking. I was under the impression that the wealthy did not exercise due to their grueling work habits – no time to exercise, only time for work.

As it turns out, I was wrong. Successful people are fanatics when it comes to daily aerobic exercise. There are a number of studies out there that explain why aerobic exercise is critical to success.

Ottawa Hospital & University of Ottawa Study

In this study, Dr. Picketts, senior author of the study and Professor at Ottawa University, found that running improves brain function.

When you run, a nerve growth factor protein known as SNF2H is triggered. This protein increases the myelin sheath that insulates the axons of every brain cell. The thicker the myelin sheath, the stronger and faster the transmission of electrical impulses produced by the axon. Individuals with thicker myelin sheaths think faster, have stronger synapses (brain cell communication) and more intense transmission of electrical impulses down the axon branch.

Running, it turns out, makes your brain work faster and better.

NYU Langone Medical Center

Running, or any aerobic exercise, increases the production of Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF).

BDNF has been described as Miracle Gro for the brain. BDNF not only helps maintain the health of existing brain cells, it increases their size and it acts as fertilizer for the brain, increasing neurogenisis (birth of new brain cells) in the Dentate Gyrus. One hour a day of aerobic exercise also changes the type of fuel the brain uses to power itself, from glucose to ketones.

Every cell uses either glucose or ketones as a source of fuel. Ketones are a type of fuel that comes from fat cells. Ketones, as a source of fuel, produce 20% more energy (ATP) than glucose.

My point in all of this is that if you want to increase your chances for success, you need to consistently exercise aerobically because aerobic exercise improves brain performance.

When you are pursuing a dream or big goals in life, you need to be at the top of your game.

  • You will be faced with many decisions. Having high performing brains allows you to make the best possible decisions.
  • You will have to think your way around many obstacles. Having high performing brains allows you to think your way around those obstacles.
  • You will make many mistakes, particularly in the beginning of the pursuit of a dream or big goal. Having high performing brains allows you to learn more from those mistakes, and helps you anticipate potential mistakes, so you can avoid them in the future.

Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, “Effort-Less Wealth”, “Change Your Habits Change Your Life”, “Rich Habits Poor Habits” and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”