How Exercise Protects Your Brain Health
What Exercise Does for Brain Health
When you think of exercising, you likely think of how it helps build muscles and improve the health of your body. However, did you know that it also helps your brain health? Here are a few ways that it does exactly that.
Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain
There is significant research that shows that actions that are healthy for the heart are also good for the brain. For instance, exercise is good for your heart and cardiovascular system. It can reduce your risk of heart disease, strokes, and other issues. However, healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also good for your brain.
In fact, studies show that exercise can lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and improve cognitive function.
Improves Blood Flow
Part of the reason that exercise is so good for your brain health is that it improves blood flow in your body. Good blood flow to the brain is crucial for clearing tubular proteins from the brain, the same proteins that are present in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Exercise can help reduce inflammation in the body. There is evidence that inflammation disrupts signals between brain cells and interferes with brain cells’ ability to use glucose for fuel. By reducing inflammation, you help your brain function more effectively.
Lowers Stress Hormones
Long-term stress can negatively affect your body in many ways. It can increase your blood pressure, weaken your immune system, and potentially contribute to anxiety and depression. Exercise boosts your body’s production of endorphins, which improve your mood, while also helping to lower stress hormones, like cortisol. As a result, your body and brain will be more relaxed and less stressed.
Sleep is important for so many reasons. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body does not get the time it needs to repair cells and restore energy. This isn’t good for your brain health. While you sleep, your body clears out toxins from your central nervous system. This helps your brain work better while you’re awake.
Regular exercise improves your sleep in many ways. The first is that it reduces stress, which makes it easier to fall asleep at night. It also tires you out, so you’ll be more likely to want to sleep. Exercise can also boost your body’s production of serotonin, which affects your sleep/wake cycle.