Exercise & Causes of Brain Fog

by Brynne Chandler

About Brynne Chandler

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.

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Overview

Brain fog is more than just a momentary lapse in clarity. It has been described as a mist that clouds your mind, as though someone has turned up the gravity inside your head, leaving you feeling confused and scattered. Brain fog causes vary, as do the recommended treatments. But experts agree that exercise -- mental and physical -- can help clear brain fog.

Brisk Walking

Talking a walk to clear your head is more than a cliche. Brain research proves the benefits of exercise to improve memory and clear brain fog. Increasing circulation to every part of your body, including your brain, walking is the easiest and most natural kind of exercise. Moderate intensity exercise, such as taking a brisk walk, increases breathing and heart rate, delivering more oxygen and glucose to your brain. Furthermore, exercise leads to the release of a memory-improving chemical -- brain-derived neurotrophic factor -- not available through food or drugs, but produced only in the brain, according to Harvard Health Publications. Long-term benefits of exercise include the growth of cerebral blood vessels and increased neural pathways.

Wriggle Your Toes

After sleeping or sitting for an extended period of time, wriggle your toes. Moving your toes stimulates nerve impulses and wakes up your brain, relieving brain fog and bringing you back to more conscious awareness. Wriggling, scrunching and stretching your toes stimulates blood flow throughout your body and to your brain because of the intricate system of blood vessels and nerves in your feet.

Neurobics

Exercising your thought processes benefits your brain much the same way physical exercise benefits your body. Neurobics, a big word referring to brain exercises, was coined by Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D., a neurobiologist with the Duke University Medical School. Katz recommends performing activities that use two or more of your five senses at the same time, such as playing with clay while looking at clouds or tapping your fingers while listening to rain. Multiple sensory stimulation increases brain cell growth and activates underused nerve pathways, says Katz.

Cross-Brain Mental Exercises

Cross-brain mental exercises are those that require both sides of your brain. Reading is the best cross-brain exercise because it requires you to decipher symbols -- a left brain activity -- and to derive meaning -- a right-brain activity. Other cross-brain activities include singing along to music and doing crossword puzzles.

Causes of Brain Fog

Mental and emotional stress -- such as fatigue from multi-tasking and overwork --can lead to brain fog. The good news that this kind of brain fog responds well to physical and mental exercise. Other kinds of brain fog result from pregnancy, menopause, poor nutrition, chemotherapy and certain medications. Physical and medical causes of brain fog are harder to clear, though the brain fogs of pregnancy and menopause recede on their own.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.