Exercise the Wonder Drug: Move the Body, Heal The Brain with Dr. Jennifer Heisz & Caroline Williams.

Original Air Date Wednesday, April 20, 2022 

Plenty of information exists about how exercise can boost our immune system and add years to our lives.Emerging research shows that physical movement can also ward off dementia, increase creativity, and help us manage stress.

To work out how movement and exercise may be the wonder drug to heal our brains and reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, Positive Psychology Podcast Host, Lisa Cypers Kamen, speaks with two authors whose work focuses on the connection between how moving the body can heal the brain. Dr. Jennifer Heisz describes the research that inspired her book, Move The Body, Heal The Mind: Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Dementia and Improve Focus, Creativity, and Sleep. During the conversation, she shares the physiology behind why the brain makes it hard for some of us to get moving and how moving more improves our mental health. Journalist Caroline Williams details the evidence behind the findings included in her book, Move: How the New Science Can Set Your Mind Free, and shares the neuroscience of how dance and movement can increase human connection and help us manage stress.

Dr. Jennifer Heisz — Move the Body. Heal the Brain:

  • Why the brain does its best to keep you on the couch and ways to trick it into submission. [2:13]
  • The connection of exercise and mental health: Ways to keep the darkness at bay. [5:34]
  • Dementia research looks at physical inactivity and genetic disposition: the finding that moving reduces dementia risk. [19:13]
  • The effect exercise has on sleep, creativity, and focus. [22:24]
  • Jennifer Heisz’s book, Move the Body and Heal the Mind, offers a compassionate approach to healthy aging and life extension. [27:01]

Dr. Jennifer Heisz with a light hair, guest of podcast episode called Exercise the Wonder Drug: Move the Body, Heal The Brain with Caroline WilliamsDr. Jennifer J. Heisz is an expert in brain health. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and directs the NeuroFit Lab. Dr. Heisz received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience (McMaster) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Brain Health and Aging at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital (Toronto). Her research examines the effects of physical activity on brain function to promote mental health and cognition in young adults, older adults, and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Book: Move The Body, Heal The Mind: Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Dementia and Improve Focus, Creativity, and Sleep

Neuro Fit Lab
@jenniferheisz on Twitter

Caroline Williams— Reduce Stress with Exercise:

  • Caroline Williams was interested in what happened between the body and the brain and the relationship between exercise and creativity. [31:55]
  • The movement of our feet has a huge impact on the amount of blood that gets to our brains. [34:56]
  • Charles Darwin built a walking path to achieve the ideal headspace for problem-solving. [40:34]
  • Caroline explains the emerging links between core exercise and stress management. [44:45]
  • How physical strength translates to self-esteem and self-confidence. [48:45]
  • The neuroscience behind the power of dance. [52:54]

Caroline Williams with a light hair, guest of podcast episode called Exercise the Wonder Drug: Move the Body, Heal The Brain with Dr. Jennifer HeiszCaroline Williams is a science writer, journalist, and author. She is a consultant for New Scientist magazine and her work has also appeared in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, and on the BBC,
among others. She is the author of two books, Move! and Override.

Book: Move: How the New Science Can Set Your Mind Free

Caroline Williams
@ScienceCaroline on Twitter
@CarolineWilliams_science on Instagram


This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio about exercise is sponsored by:

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“Exercise is free medicine.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“The function of the feet to bring more blood up to the brain is what is making us feel better.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“When you think about the gut as another brain in the body, when we are strengthening this part of ourselves we are also strengthening another brain. ” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Dancing is kind, free, legal, and the key to helping us better manage our minds and our bodies.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“The brain is hard-wired to conserve energy and, essentially, that means it makes us lazy.” @jenniferheisz on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Antidepressants have become one of the most widely prescribed drugs on the planet, and there is a lot of controversy over this.” @jenniferheisz on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Exercise is the medicine we all need.” @jenniferheisz on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“The antidepressant effects of exercise are on par with antidepressants. There’s no difference.” @jenniferheisz on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet “If you are struggling with a mental health issue exercise can help you recover faster.” @jenniferheisz on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Exercise is one of the greatest things you can do to prevent dementia.” @jenniferheisz on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet “The bottom line is the more we move during the day the better we sleep at night.” @jenniferheisz on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Our brains evolved to inform our movements in the world.” @ScienceCaroline on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Our feet have pressure sensors built-in. When we are moving on our feet, it sets up turbulence in our blood vessels which sends a boost of blood to the brain.” @ScienceCaroline on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet “Whenever you are stuck. Go out and move. Think on the move.” @ScienceCaroline on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“There is strong evidence that improving physical strength is effective in increasing and boosting self-esteem.” @ScienceCaroline on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“There is some visceral bonding and connecting about moving with people. It brings people together and it's a powerful way of doing that.” @ScienceCaroline on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet



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