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Brain Health – How Exercise Affects Your Brain?

Exercise Affects Your Brain

Exercise Affects Brain - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

We have all had days where we feel like we are dragging, or our brains just don’t have the total clarity we are used to.

Perhaps this could result from our work/life balance being out of whack, or this may be due to current world events posing extra stressors on our bodies and our minds.

It is no secret that physical exercise, whether cardiovascular, strength training (or a combination of both), has a profound effect on brain function and overall health.

There is a direct link to how physical exercise affects your brain, so how can physical exercise contribute to your brain health?

1. Exercise Affects Your Brain & Battles Depression

Weights Lifting, cardiovascular exercise, group exercise, and HIIT Training are excellent workout options to help the brain battle depression. Depression is a common mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.

Over the long term can become a serious health condition. Studies have shown that these varieties of workouts can help the brain release endorphins that enhance a sense of well-being.

Endorphins are a natural chemical that is known to be a happiness booster or mood enhancer. HIIT or higher intensity training is said to release higher levels of endorphins than moderate exercise.

The term “Runners High” comes from the release of endorphins that occurs when performing cardiovascular exercises like running.

2. Better Quality of Sleep

Better Quality of Sleep

Many people struggle with sleep or have issues falling asleep. Being physically active requires you to burn energy, and helps you feel more tired and ready to rest at the end of the day.

The dangers of not getting proper sleep or rest can also contribute to a long list of health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and possibly early death.

Once your brain has wound down, your ability to get a deeper night’s sleep increases.

Deep sleep regenerates energy in the brain, can assist in helping to boost immune function, cardiac support health, and control stress.

Through exercise, you will notice an increased quality of nightly sleep/rest and find a spike in energy levels the following morning.

3. Increased Memory

The Hippocampus is a region of the brain that is associated with memory. The older we get, this area may start to shrink or deteriorate.

The increase in memory loss is a primary concern when we age. Alzheimer’s is also a fear as we grow older, so the impact that exercise has can reduce the probability of developing the disease.

There is an increased cell regeneration that happens when we exercise, and this helps maintain or grow areas in the brain, which helps with memory loss.

Training can overcome cognitive impairment and even jumpstart the creation of new neurons as little as three resistance training exercises like dumbbells, resistance bands, or one’s body weight per week are enough to improve cognition and boost memory performance.

When you are involved in a consistent exercise regimen; the body overall has more of a need for energy, which in turn fuels the brain.

4. Helps with Blood Flow

Helps with Blood Flow

Aerobic exercise helps get more blood to the brain. Strong blood flow helps with feeding and nourishing the brain beneficial for making the rest of your body perform at its peak throughout the day.

Without enough oxygen or low blood-oxygen levels; the brain has a hard time signaling to send blood to oxygen-hungry muscles and tissues.

More blood means more energy and oxygen for proper everyday body functionality. Because the brain uses about 25 percent of your oxygen intake, supplying it with enough oxygen is essential; and this is where exercise comes into play.

Physical exercise will increase the amount of oxygen that gets, thus physical exercise affects brain health directly.

This will leave you with a better overall feeling of clarity and allow you to think straighter and attack the day’s tasks post-exercise.

Read More: Best Brain Foods: 12 Foods that Enhance Your Brain Power

Summary – How Daily Exercise Affects Your Brain?

The brain is the main driver of almost all, if not all, the rest of our bodies.

Equally important is maintaining brain health as we age. This can keep you younger and sharper.

Without proper exercise, you will be robbing the brain of proper blood flow and nutrients that help with your energy and memory.

If you are not an avid exerciser now, it is not too late to start. This can be as simple as getting the ball rolling with a nice walk, hike, or bike ride.

For the more experienced workout enthusiast, it’s never a bad idea to mix up your workouts to keep your brain and body challenged. Let’s remember to keep active!

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
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Ryan Hennessey

Advocate with Fitness Businesses

Based in Ontario Canada, Ryan Hennessey is a long-time fitness enthusiast and healthier lifestyle advocate tha...

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