Physical exercise is good for physical health, but did you know it can also boost brain power?
Exercises improve muscle strength and heart health and reduce the development of the metabolic syndrome. In addition, physical activity helps improve cognition and memory. Exercise also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and several other neurological illnesses.
In addition, aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels, which can interfere with concentration. Let’s explore more of exercise-induced benefits.
1. Exercise improves concentration and focus
You may have noticed that it takes longer to make decisions when you’re tired or distracted.
Research has shown that our brain relies on the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for decision-making and concentration) to get things done.
Physical exercise help improves the function of neurons in this part of your brain, thus increasing the ability to concentrate and focus.
2. Boost memory power
There are three types of memory: long-term, short-term, and working.
Long-term memory is a wide range of knowledge and a record of previous events. Short-term memory allows a person to remember a limited amount of information for a short period. Working memory is not entirely distinct from short-term memory. However, it is used when a person manipulates information.
Exercising increases blood flow to the brain, thus increasing the supply of nutrients and removing waste products. This could help improve memory power while also counteracting any damage that can occur with ageing.
3. Reduce stress and anxiety
Exercise can help you to feel less stressed, anxious, and depressed.
It does this by reducing the number of stress hormones in your body, particularly cortisol. It also increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that improves mood.
Exercise can help you sleep better, too! When we regularly exercise, our bodies release endorphins, which make us feel relaxed and happy.
Another benefit of regular exercise is that it can increase blood flow through our cardiovascular system, which helps improve our ability to think clearly and boost overall energy levels during daytime hours when needed, most during stressful periods like exams.
4. Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is the time when your brain recovers from the day. However, studies have shown that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on learning and memory. This is because the sleep-deprived brain doesn’t function properly, making it harder to pay attention and focus.
The brain removes waste materials and toxins during sleep. In addition, sleep has been proven to improve memory recall and reduce mental fatigue.
Exercise has long been associated with better sleep. While sleep is one of the best remedies for disturbed sleep.
5. Fight depression
You may be surprised to learn that physical exercise can be as effective as medication for treating depression.
Exercise also helps you sleep better, which is essential for managing depression. It can also help you manage stress and anxiety linked to depression.
Physical exercise can also help you cope with negative emotions like anger or sadness. This is because being active increases blood flow throughout your body and releases endorphins, chemicals in the brain that promote a sense of well-being and happiness!
6. Prevent cognitive decline
Physical exercises not only keep the body healthy but also boost brain power. The benefits of physical exercise may include improved mood and memory, better sleep, reduced stress levels and increased focus.
Exercise helps the formation of new neurons (neurogenesis). The mechanism is through the production of lactate. The lactate stimulates neurons and glial cell proliferation, particularly in the hippocampus.
The beneficial effects of exercise on brain structures are mostly found in the regions sensitive to neurodegeneration, such as the hippocampus and the neocortex.
7. Decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Millions of people suffering from this devastating disease, but there’s good news. Exercise can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
How does it work?
Exercise increases brain blood supply (brain circulation) due to increased heart rate, which pumps more blood through the body, including the brain. Increases blood flow to the brain and delivers more oxygen and nutrients. More oxygen-rich blood helps nourish brain cells and generate new neurons (neurogenesis).
Increased brain circulation promotes the removal of waste products such as amyloid beta. This protein accumulates in brain cells in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
So, an increased supply of nutrients and the removal of waste products prevent neural damage and potentially improve the acquisition and retrieval of memory.
The Bottom Line
To get the most out of your brain, it is essential to keep it healthy and active.
Physical exercises are a great way to boost brain power because they improve blood circulation in the brain, which enhances its ability to function at optimal levels.
You don’t have to be an athlete or work out at the gym daily – even simple everyday tasks like walking can help boost your brain.