5 Ways Exercise Affects your Brain
When you think about exercise, you likely think of how it improves your physical health. That makes sense. After all, between maintaining a healthy body weight, reducing your risk of certain diseases and helping you feel better and have more energy, there are a lot of physical benefits to exercise.
But have you ever thought of the mental benefits?
There are a lot of ways that exercise affects your brain. It’s been said that whatever is good for your body is also good for your mind and this tends to be true. Here are a few ways that regular exercise benefits your brain.
- It helps fight depression and anxiety
- Exercise increases the body’s production of brain chemicals that can help increase your mood. While more severe cases of depression should be treated by a doctor, milder cases could be helped by exercise.
- It reduces stress
- Exercising lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as “the stress hormone” and it can lead to a “fight or flight” instinct that is part of your body’s stress response. In addition to making you feel stressed out, high amounts of cortisol can impair cognitive performance, higher blood pressure and lowered immunity.
- It helps you concentrate
- Studies have shown that exercise increases your cognitive abilities and helps you concentrate, organize your thoughts and plan for the future. Exercise stimulates the growth of new connections between brain cells, making it easier for the brain to make connections.
- It improves your memory
- In addition to helping you focus, exercise has shown to improve your ability to remember things. For example, it has been shown that running is associated with more growth in the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Regular exercise also helps prevent the degeneration of the parts of the brain associated with memory. This degeneration tends to happen as we age.
- It boosts your overall mood
- Exercise helps you sleep better, increases relaxation and helps you be more creative and productive. Overall, regular exercise improves your overall mood and helps you enjoy life. This is a good reason to start exercising regularly.
Adding more exercise to your daily life is important. Even something as simple as a daily walk can be an improvement and benefit your body and your mind.