How Does Exercise Improve Brain Function?
We hear all the time about the importance of regular physical activity. It’s good for your heart, can help you lose weight, and is important for your physical wellbeing. But more than that, it’s also great for your mental health. If you are looking to improve your brain function, exercise is a great place to start. Here are 5 ways exercise can help the brain!
Helps you manage stress and anxiety
As put by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, if your body feels better your mind does too. Physical activity of any kind can act as a great way to manage stress and/or symptoms of anxiety.
Research has shown that regular exercise can help individuals coping with anxiety not to become so anxious in their day-to-day life. It acts as a sort of exposure treatment, allowing the individual to associate symptoms of anxiety such as a racing heart and sweating with safety rather than fear. A clearer, less stressed or fearful mind, can function significantly better than the alternative.
Improves your memory
Alongside certain brain foods like blueberries, walnuts, and yes, even wine, exercise is a great way to improve your memory. The University of British Columbia did a study that showed that getting your heart rate up can increase the size of your hippocampus. This is the part of the human brain that is responsible for learning and memory. A bigger hippocampus means better memory.
Who doesn’t want a bigger brain?
Boosts your mood
Ever heard of the exercise effect? According to the American Psychological Association, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports exercise as a way to boost your mood. And not just in the short term! Studies are showing that regular physical activity can even help major depression. Exercise is a natural way to release feel-good hormones, also known as endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for suppressing pain, boosting self-esteem, and making you feel, well, good! All of which are important for your mental health.
Using Exercise to Help Depression
Unfortunately, depression and suicide make it on the list of the most common men’s health issues. Suicide rates are 3.5 times higher for men than women. So, if you are a male struggling with depression, going to the gym can be a great way to cope. Of course, if you are having thoughts of suicide you should always seek professional help as well.
All you need is five minutes of activity and you can expect a little boost in your mood!
Reduces risk for disease
Statistics show that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world. While genetics do play a role in your chances of developing a disease, a large majority of them are very preventable. Exercise helps to decrease inflammation, reduce insulin resistance, and helps to grow new brain cells.
Regular exercise can lower your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and diabetes. This is because exercise helps to increase blood flow to your brain – thus improving your brain function.
Helps build social relationships
Building healthy relationships and becoming part of a community is crucial for your overall wellbeing. Social wellness can help enhance your quality of life while helping you cope with future adversity. Exercise is a wonderful way to build connections.
Whether you are meeting people at the gym, going for walks with a friend, or on a Facebook group with fellow supporters, physical activity can act as more than just a physical and mental boost. It’s a social boost too!
Need help improving your brain function?
If you’ve made exercise and better health part of your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions, good for you! We want to help you succeed! Brain Forest Centers is a Fishers, IN-based neurofeedback center that specializes in helping you unlock the potential of your brain. Give us a call at (317) 288-9828 to schedule your free consultation!