It’s a well-known fact that exercise is great for your body since it improves cardiovascular function, strengthens muscles, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. However, the benefits of exercise go even further than that, extending to your brain as well. Read on as we discuss the myriad benefits exercise has for your mind.
When you exercise, blood flow increases throughout your body, including to your brain. Over time, this increased blood flow leads to the growth of new blood vessels in your brain. These blood vessels can then carry more oxygen where you need it, resulting in improved brain function. Furthermore, exercise stimulates the release of growth factors into your brain cells to help them replicate and regenerate, which can help to stave off neurodegenerative conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s, a study by the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan found.
Reduces Stress and Improves Moods
During exercise, endorphins are released into your brain and nervous system. These feel-good neurotransmitters have a similar effect to opiates or antidepressants, causing you to feel happy and content. They even have “therapeutic and preventative effects on depression,” according to a study conducted by the University of California, Irvine. This positive feeling stays with you for hours after you have finished exercising as the endorphins work their way throughout your body. This can help to improve your response to stress as well, leading you to react more calmly to problems, rather than immediately jumping into tense mode. It can also contribute to personal relationships, as you will be less likely to spring to anger and will be a more agreeable person to be around.
Increases Sleep Efficiency
Another one of the benefits of exercise for your brain is that it helps you sleep better at night. Not only have you utilized more of your body’s daily storage of energy, but you also have all those feel-good neurotransmitters flowing through your body and reducing stress, which keeps many people up at night. Getting more and better sleep also helps your brain during the day. When you’re fully rested, your brain is able to function at its optimal level, resulting in better concentration and focus while you’re working.
Improved coordination is a benefit for both your body and brain. As you perform exercises that challenge your body, your brain must contribute to control your movements. This effect is compounded when performing complex, full-body movements in rapid succession, like in a kickboxing class or circuit training, as your brain must constantly make adjustments to move your limbs correctly. You’ll notice this effect in your daily life, as you’ll feel more comfortable and confident in your movements as you complete activities, which helps to prevent injury as well.
According to Wendy A. Suzuki, a neural science and psychology professor at New York University, her research lab demonstrated that regular exercise can improve your ability to focus and to shift that focus between tasks quickly and efficiently. This is one of the benefits of exercise that you can see the effects of right away, even if you only exercise casually. With the increased blood flow to your brain, you’ll notice heightened levels of attention and much greater ease in concentrating on the task at hand.
So what are you waiting for? With all of these exciting benefits of exercise for your brain, there’s no reason for you to delay getting into shape both physically and mentally. Head over to EVO to get a workout in today and start reaping the benefits. Your body and brain will thank you.