Exercise is well known for its extensive health benefits. From its importance in maintaining a healthy weight to preventing serious problems like heart diseases and strokes, it is a daily habit that is well-recommended to have and keep. One of the lesser-known benefits of exercise, however, is its contribution to brain health. Regular exercise has been proven to help improve memory, learning capabilities, quickness in thinking and other aspects that are tied to mental performance.
Physical activities lead to better blood flow and oxygenation in the brain, therefore boosting its capabilities. No more than 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day is guaranteed to keep your brain in shape. Here are 10 ways in which your brain benefits from exercise:
1) Better Mood :
Exercise has been found in studies to help increase the amount of serotonin in your brain. It also increases the production of dopamine, the well-known hormone that is associated with pleasure. This translates into a better mood when you stay physically active.
2) Lower risk of mental problems :
The improved blood flow and oxygenation in the brain also helps keep it healthy for longer. Studies have shown exercise to slow down brain aging and prevent common problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s in older people.
3) Increased number of brain cells :
Daily physical activity has been found to stimulate the brain to produce new nerve cells and accelerate their growth. This is due to a smoother production of noggin and BDNF, two bioactive compounds directly involved in the process.
4) Stress reduction :
As mentioned, exercise encourages the production of chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin that improve moods and also give you the mental energy to better deal with daily challenges.
5) Helps against depression :
Depression is tied to a lower efficiency of neurotransmitters. Exercise, however, boosts the production of a protein called BDNF, that helps improve their functioning.
6) Improves IQ :
IQ has been found to be linked to cardiovascular health in studies, showing that improvement in that department directly leads to an increase in their IQ.
7) Improves memory :
The improved blood flow in the brain when exercising daily directly leads to more brain cells, stronger connections between neurons and reduced aging. This leads to improvement in learning capabilities, memory, problem-solving abilities and other aspects of mental power.
8) Slows down atrophy :
It is normal for the brain to start shrinking once you are over 30, leading to lower mental abilities than at its peak. Exercise has been proven to help slow down this process.
9) Better focus :
Exercise has been found in studies to help improve the attention span of children and teenagers with ADHD. Considering the overall boost of performance that the brain receives from exercise, the fact that it helps concentrate on tasks is no surprise.
10) Leads to a happier life :
The improved levels of dopamine, serotonin and other endorphins associated with happiness and good moods provide long-term benefits that mean an improved perception towards all areas of your life.
Exercise is one of the most powerful tools in boosting your mental health and, seeing how moderate daily amounts are enough, there is no reason not to do it. That is before even talking about the numerous other health benefits it brings.
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