“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.” -Marsha Doble
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.-John Fitzgerald Kennedy
“Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.” -Earl of Derby
We know that exercise is good for the body. But, what about the mind? Below are 7 benefits exercise has on our brain:
It reverses the effects of stress.
- Working out (average of 45 minutes) in a 3 day period assists in slowing the aging process.
- Rids ruminating “by altering blood flow to those areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts again and again,” says study coauthor Elissa Epel, an associate professor of psychiatry at UCSF.
- Calms as the brain increases “soothing” chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
It lifts depression.
- Working out 3x/week (burning 350 calories) through sweat-inducing activity can be as effective as anti-depressants.
- Yoga 3x/week boosts the brain chemical GABA which helps improve mood and calms anxiety.
It improves learning.
- Exercise helps make new brain cells and connections between cells. The more complicated the activity (and the more coordination required), the bigger the brain growth.
- Attention and concentration skills improve after a complicated fitness routine. The more complicated the activity, the more our capacity to learn.
It builds self esteem and positive body image.
- Improvements in fitness level (i.e. running a faster mile or lifting more weights) improves self-esteem and body image.
It brings euphoria.
- We get “high” post interval workouts.
It keeps the mind sharp.
- Leisurely walks helps fend off memory loss and keep skills like vocabulary retrieval.
It may fight Alzheimer’s.
- Exercise protects the brain’s hippocampus (in charge of memory and spatial navigation). The hippocampus is one of the first areas to be affected by Alzeimer’s.
- Aids in preventing Alzheimer’s.
- Helps lower the impact once it has begun.
This information was paraphrased from U.S. News Report, 7 Mind Blowing Benefits of Exercise