Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How Exercise Affects the Mind

In case there weren’t enough reasons to exercise regularly, here’s one more: it’s great for your mind! How’s that work? Stop asking questions and go for a run! All kidding aside, exercise really is good for your brain. The way it works, in a nutshell, is that exercise increases blood flow and blood pressure throughout the body, a vital part of which is the brain. Blood brings oxygen everywhere it flows, and the more oxygen your brain is getting, the better it functions. No wonder people “need to get some fresh air” when they can’t think clearly!

Decrease in Stress and Aging

There are a few chemicals in your brain called dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. You don’t need to memorize those names, just remember that they are good chemicals, responsible for combating stress. Stress, of course, is one of the prime suspects in the aging process. Exercise helps to increase the levels of these good chemicals and decrease stress.

Anti-Depression

Have you ever gone to the doctor hoping he’d give you some magic potion that was going to cure whatever ailment you had (or thought you had), only to have her tell you that all you need is more diet and exercise? When it comes to depression, exercise really is a great – and need we say, natural – remedy. Depression can harm certain neurons in the brain, but intense physical activity and sweating can encourage their growth.

Learning

Physical activities that require coordination, such as ballet, gymnastics, even tennis, really challenge your mind and in doing so help enhance it. The stronger your mind, the greater your capacity to learn. A strong mind also has more retentive powers, so you are more likely to remember new information you absorb.

A quick Google search will yield a great many articles that go into greater depth about the positive effects of exercise on the mind. But now that you have a surface-level understanding of the matter, we hope you’ll be even more encouraged to get out there on a regular basis and work up a sweat. Don’t forget, there is one more way that exercise affects the brain positively: it makes you look better and feel lighter and that is inevitably good for your confidence and self-esteem.

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