Exercising for a healthy brain
It seems that it’s always been known that exercise is an incredible way of keeping ourselves healthy. From our heart health and our weight, to our muscles and just our overall physical health, staying active is an incredibly important part of life.
As it turns out, though, exercise has also been found to keep our minds sharp, happy and healthy, as well!
How does exercise help our mind?
Exercise helps us reduce our anxieties and can literally help lift our depressions by releasing “happy chemicals,” or, scientifically speaking, by releasing endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. It can also aid in reversing the detrimental side-affects of stress.
In a Greatist.com article from 2013, they explain that, “In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression.” They go on to say that, on top of that, exercise can help those who are recovering from addictions, whether it be an addiction to food, sex, alcohol, drugs, etc.
Now, beyond exercise greatly reducing emotional negativities and boosting the positives, it can also improve creativity. A great work out can boost creativity for at least two hours afterwards, as it’s explained on Greatist.com.
Exercise helps in the retaining of information, as well. It’s said that exercise encourages growth factors, which establishes new connections between new and old braincells! On top of this, as it’s said in an article on US News, stressing your braincells through exercises that involve coordination, or sports that require a lot of concentration, can help your braincells to grow, which literally helps our brains from shrinking due to age.
What exercise to do?
So, what exercises are the best for our minds? Well, unfortunately, it’s not entirely clear as of yet. However, researchers have suggested that walking is the most beneficial, and as it’s said in an article from BrainHQ, “In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.” They go on to say that, “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.”
As it says in a 2014 article by Heidi Godman in the Harvard Health Publications, “If you don’t want to walk, consider other moderate-intensity exercises, such as swimming, stair climbing, tennis, squash, or dancing.”
Heidi also informs us that, “The study participants walked briskly for one hour, twice a week. That’s 120 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week.” However, 150 minutes a week is the recommended dose!
It’s also said that cardio boosts blood flow to the brain, which sends our minds some much-needed oxygen (something that’s incredibly important as the brain absorbs about 20% of our bodies oxygen).
Exercise can also reduce risk of certain diseases, such as cancer, stroke, and diabetes by 50%! It can also reduce our risk of dementia by 30%.
So, to sum this up, do what’s best for you and move it or lose it! Your brain will thank you as much as your body will, and as the old saying goes, healthy mind, healthy body!