MoveWell Health and Fitness


How Exercising Can Make Your Brain Stronger

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Some of the main benefits that exercising can give you involve expanding your lung capacity, increasing blood circulation, and encouraging muscle and bone growth. Which all help prevent many chronic illnesses.  However, what some of us do not know is that physical exercise can also positively affect our brain health. 

Benefits of exercise for the brain: 

If you are looking to reduce fat or lose some weight, you have to be aware that exercising will do more than just lower your blood pressure and make you look better. 

#1 Enhances memory: 

Memory and thinking are aided by exercise in both direct and indirect ways. Regular aerobic exercise will boost blood circulation and sweat gland functions. Along with this is the improvement of the performance of your hippocampus, or the brain region involved in language memory. 

Studies have shown that walking improves episodic memory, or the capacity to recall a specific incident or episode in one’s life. Additionally, it has also been revealed that people who lifted weights improved their associative memory, which is the ability to recall two items that are connected to each other. Therefore, it is safe to say that you can improve your memory regardless if you choose to do pure walking or strength training. 

#2 Better learning abilities: 

When you start exercising, you will see an overall improvement in the way you function. To be more specific, you receive a boost in alertness, attention retention, and motivation. Moreover, working out prepares and stimulates your nerve cells to attach to one another. In return, it becomes easier for you to record and store information in your brain. In simple terms, exercising is a good tool to help prepare your brain for learning.

#3 Lesser chances of toxic accumulation:

Our brains utilize glutamate, one of the twenty amino acids that make up proteins, to convey messages. Too many of these amino acids have the potential to block signals and cause brain damage in the long run. Scientists from the University of Guelph, Canada, have found that exercise may help minimize the toxicity caused by glutamate build-up in certain illnesses and increase the utilization of glutamate in the brain. 

#4 Decrease the chances of having dementia: 

Physical exercise and other major lifestyle changes are just some of the most effective methods to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. Moreover, combining pharmaceutical and lifestyle treatments will likely give the greatest protection against cognitive impairment. Therefore, given that no effective therapy for dementia has been identified so far, doing regular exercises may greatly benefit you. 

One study conducted in Wales, the United Kingdom, examined the behaviour of 2,000 men for 35 years. These adults were assessed based on regular exercise, alcohol intake, smoking habits, physical condition, and health. It was then later found that exercise had the highest impact on reducing dementia risk among the five mentioned behaviours. 

#5 Helps you avoid stress: 

We all suffer stress, whether you are a young adolescent, an adult, or someone over 60. Doing regular workouts will help you avoid the harmful effects of stress through a number of factors. For one, studies have suggested that people who increase their physical activity become more socially engaged. This is because when you decide to start your fitness journey, you go to the gym or take classes with numerous people. As a result, you meet other people who have the same goals as you and become more socially engaged. 

Another benefit you receive when you start working on your fitness is an increase in confidence. Doing exercises will empower you to value yourself and your health more. In return, you gain the confidence to do things you have never thought of doing, like going on adventures. 

#6 Improves your mood: 

According to a recent study, running for even 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour decreases the risk of severe depression. Furthermore, numerous sources have also claimed that people who exercise at least two to three times a week have lower levels of sadness and anger than those who barely work out. One of the contributing factors to this is the release of endorphins, or “feel-good” hormones, during cardiovascular exercises. Additionally, working out also increases your heart rate. This results in your body releasing norepinephrine, a hormone that may aid the brain’s stress response.

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Top exercises to boost your brain
Now that you are aware of the huge benefits exercise can give you, here are several exercises that can help you maximize the results. 

#1 Walking: Walking is arguably the most accessible of all workouts, mainly because you can do it practically anywhere. Also, it is a fun activity as you can listen to your favourite podcast or music while doing so. 

#2 Running: A lot of people also prefer running due to the so-called “runner’s high.” This is a well-known, endorphin-fueled phenomenon popular amongst runners that boosts your mood. A study conducted by University College London researchers found that increasing activity levels from nothing, to three exercise sessions per week can reduce the risk of depression by 20 per cent. 

#3 Weight training: Researchers have found that six months of strength training (lifting weights) can help protect brain areas especially vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease up to one year later. They found, too, that the memory centers of the brain in weight trainers teemed now with enzymes and genetic markers that are known to help kick-start the creation and survival of new neurons, while also increasing plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to remodel itself.