Benefits of Exercise for Brain Developments
Physical activity is good for your brain. Your brain is no different than rest of the muscles in your body–you either use it or you lose it. You utilize the gym to stimulate the growth of muscle cells, just as you use a brain fitness program to increase connections in your brain. But you can actually get an additional brain boost by donning your sneakers and hitting the gym. The benefits of physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, have positive effects on brain function on multiple fronts, ranging from the molecular to behavioral level. According to a study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions.
Exercise affects the brain on multiple fronts. It increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the bodily release of a plethora of hormones, all of which participate in aiding and providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.
Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.
Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.
Benefits of exercise- So how much workout is needed?
So what should you do? Start exercising! Almost all of the research has looked at walking, including the latest study. It’s likely that other forms of aerobic exercise that get your heart pumping might yield similar benefits.
Walk briskly for one hour, twice a week. That’s 120 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week. Standard recommendations advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week. If that seems daunting, start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal.
Tips On Choosing The Right Exercise
- In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.
- Aerobic exercise is great for body and brain: not only does it improve brain function, but it also acts as a “first aid kit” on damaged brain cells.
- Exercising in the morning before going to work not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also produces increases retention of new information, and better reaction to complex situations.
- When looking to change up your work out, look for an activity that incorporates coordination along with cardiovascular exercise, such as a dance class.
- If you like crunching time at the gym alone, opt for circuit workouts, which both quickly spike your heart rate, but also constantly redirect your attention.
- Hitting a wall or mentally exhausted? Try rebooting with a few jumping jacks for your brain improvement exercises.