We all know that exercise may help you improve your physical health, sexual life, lose weight and add years to your life. In addition, if you exercise on a routine basis, this makes you feel better, more energized and boosts your mood.
However, exercise is beneficial for your bones and muscles, positively impacts the brain, and keeps your brain healthy.
But how it works, or what is happening in the brain during exercise?
When your heart rate increases during exercise, blood flow to the brain also increases, and thus, your brain receives more oxygen and nutrients. The activity also triggers your brain to produce helpful proteins. These nourishing proteins stimulate the development of new neurons and maintain brain cells or neurons healthy. These brain cells or neurons are the building blocks of the brain. As a result, neuron health is vital to the overall health of the brain.
It also encourages neuroplasticity, which means the brain’s ability to build new neural connections and adapt throughout life. “The key place where this happens is in the hippocampus, which is a crucial area of the brain for memory.
Benefits of Exercise On Brain
If you can do a modest amount of exercise, that can make a real difference. It doesn’t matter what your fitness level and age are. Exercise, in my opinion, is powerful medicine and tool for dealing with mental health issues. The following are the benefits of exercise for the brain.
Exercise and stress and depression
When you are stressed, your muscles, particularly those in your shoulders and neck, may become tense or tight, and you may also experience neck and shoulder pain and headaches. In addition, the possible side effects of stress are insomnia, heartburn, nausea, stomachache, and diarrhea. All these physical symptoms create a vicious cycle between your body and your mind. Exercise is the key to breaking this vicious cycle by releasing chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with your brain receptors, reduce your perception of pain, boost physical and mental energy and trigger a positive feeling in the body. Additionally helps to relax your muscle and relieve stress.
Research has shown that physical activity can treat mild or moderate depression and is a potent depression fighter for several reasons. First, it promotes the release of growth factors—these are the chemicals in the brain that help with the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, reducing inflammation, promoting feelings of calm and well-being, making you feel good.
Exercise and trauma and PTSD
In PTSD patients, regular exercise contributes to many positive physical health outcomes, including better cardiovascular health, weight loss, and increased flexibility and mobility. Given that anxiety and depression are common symptoms of PTSD, it should be clear that encouraging patients to exercise is generally a good idea. So, regular exercise can improve your mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. If you have PTSD, maintaining a routine practice may be very beneficial to you. Exercises like running, walking (especially in the sand), swimming, dancing, weight training—are some of your best choices.
Even short bursts of activity early in the morning or late in the afternoon might help your sleep pattern. Likewise, relaxing exercises like yoga or mild stretching can help promote better sleep if you want to exercise at night.
Exercise and ADHD
Regular exercise is one of the simple and effective methods to alleviate ADHD symptoms and improve focus, motivation, memory, and mood. Physical activity raises dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the brain, all of which will enhance focus and attention. Exercise works similarly to ADHD medicines like Ritalin and Adderall in this regard.
Studies have found an increase in the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain which controls memory and learning, in people who do regular exercise than people who don’t. Therefore, exercise can improve your memory and thinking skills.
Exercise and Anxiety
Exercise also aids the removal of chemicals in the brain that make you feel anxious and stressed. As a result, people who exercise are often happier and less stressed than those who do not. Regular exercise might also help you control your emotions when you’re feeling angry or disturbed.
- Set a weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking, biking, jogging, or swimming). Begin with a few minutes each day and gradually increase to five or ten minutes every week until you accomplish your goal.