Why Working Out is Good for Your Brain

Why Working Out is Good for Your Brain

Working out is good for the body and the brain. A recent study proved that exercising up to 60 minutes daily improves information processing and cognition. This is because bouts of exercise release hormones that enhance the body’s functions.

In this article, we are going to talk about some amazing benefits of working out that will persuade you to leave the couch and hit the gym.

The Real Benefits of Working Out

Did you ever think that working on your butt would help you become smarter? Well, believe it or not, it is true. Research done at UCLA studied the direct effects that exercising has on the brain. In technical terms, exercise enhances axonal regeneration from sensory neurons.

Don’t worry, we are going to break that down so that it is understandable. In simple terms, exercising enhances sensory neurons. Consequently, your brain can establish higher and stronger neural connections and thus, improve the growth factor of your brain.

In other words, when you work out on any part of your body, be it glutes, abs, biceps, thighs, or anything directly or indirectly, that exercise has a positive effect on the brain.

Healthy body, healthy mind – exercise helps relieve stress:

In a world, where a third of people are stressed, and one out of five experience anger and sadness on a daily basis, happiness seems scarce. These findings are from a Gallup report, which surveyed individuals from 140 countries.

If the brain is underperforming or it is in turmoil with conditions like stress, these effects are also felt in other parts of the body. Stress manifests in fatigue, lethargy, energy depletion, and lower levels of alertness.

Therefore, exercising daily is a great tool for stress management. It may be harder at the beginning, but as your body gets into shape, your mood improves.

How exercise boosts your mood:

A study conducted at Harvard revealed that running for about 15 minutes a day reduces the chances of getting depressed by 26 per cent.

The same study said that not only formal exercising, but casual movement throughout the day, is also helpful. So, the next time you feel depressed, don’t lock yourself up in your room. Try going for a jog.

Exercise can help increase the effects of some mental health meds

The purpose of psychiatric or psychological medicines is to catalyze the release of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins and dopamine. However, exercising can play a key role by releasing important mood-enhancing hormones too.

Researchers at Vermont University conducted a study and recommended that mental disorder patients should be prescribed exercise along with meds, as exercise increased, in some cases, the effectiveness of the prescribed drugs.

How and why exercise helps to reduce anxiety:

As per ADAA, 18.1 per cent of the US population is suffering from some degree of anxiety.

Regular exercise helps reduce anxiety on four fronts. It reduces the volume of stress hormones like cortisol, pushes away negative emotions and thoughts, increases your confidence, and reduces stress.

Moving on to why exercise reduces anxiety, it is found that with exercise, the heart rate increases, which leads to the release of endocannabinoids, brain-derived neurotrophic factors, and GABA. These are the major anti-anxiety neurochemicals that have a natural tendency to help an individual decide between the fight or flight response.

Boost your brainpower

Have you ever felt low at work and just wanted to shut everything down (including your brain) and run away? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us, even if we love our job.

Bristol University conducted research and found that exercising for about 45 minutes during lunchtime can improve your concentration levels. Similar results were found in other research in which school-age children were the subjects. With exercise, the children showed better concentration, retention, and understanding of the subject matter.

The positive correlation exists because, with exercise, there is more production of growth factors (growth factors imply a growth in the volume of blood vessels in the brain). This fortifies the connections among different parts of the body.

Sharpen memory

Our memories degrade after some time due to a lack of neuromodulatory factors like dopamine and noradrenaline. Exercising balances the release of these factors, thereby directly helping to sharpen the memory. Our memory also gets a boost when we experience exercise-induced mood enhancement and sleep.

Get it done

Exercise increases your confidence and helps you avoid procrastination in other areas of your life. The kind of confidence you have when you feel “I can do it” is what you can get all the time, even with as little as a medium intensity workout every day.

A set workout regime gives you more energy throughout the day. Scientifically speaking,  exercise stimulates the growth of mitochondria. This further leads to the development of ATP. ATP gives energy to the body and more brainpower to get things done efficiently.

Encourage others

We all have that one person in our life who never seems to get tired or down. They are energetic and also the go-to person for asking advice on how to stay fit and energized. Do you want to be that go-to person? Start working out today and be the example among your peers.

Sleep Well

Working out helps you get a deeper sleep because exercise impacts the duration of the restorative sleep phase. Ultimately, you gain the potential to improve cardiac functioning, memory retention, and cognitive functioning when you get better sleep.

One way exercise induces more sleep is by tiring you out. A more strenuous workout means you will get better sleep at night and help prevent insomnia.

Enjoy your healthier life

There are so many benefits to working out and one of the biggest ones is getting to enjoy better overall health.

From helping with anxiety, insomnia and fatigue, and reducing stress, exercising daily leaves you with a better and energized body. Researchers have also linked regular working out with better memory retention, a good sex life, and confidence boosts.

With age, our body and its functions tend to deteriorate naturally. Added to this, our lifestyle either hastens this process, or it can slow it down. To achieve the latter, a daily workout is essential.

Several types of research have linked exercise to better recovery in those who are suffering from chronic diseases. In a research paper titled, “Exercise as a Drug,” the researchers studied using exercise as a regular drug to replace pharmacological interventions. The results showed that regular exercise improves vitality while reducing the morbidity.

The Best Length of Time to Work Out

In a major study including over 661,000 adults over a time span of 14 years, it was found that exercising for 150 minutes per week reduced the risk of dying by 31 percent. Those who exceeded the recommended limit and exercised for more than 450 minutes per week decreased the risk of dying by 39 per cent. Exercise in excess of 450 minutes per week saw the overall health benefits plateau.

The best length of time to work out, however, varies from person to person. When it comes to not overdoing your workout, look for signs from your body. Signs of exercise fatigue include:

  • Taking more time to rest between sets than normal
  • Feeling depressed despite working out (not to be confused with the depression felt from mental illness)
  • Inability to sleep
  • Injuries
  • Suffering from colds more often
  • Fatigue

4 Quick And Easy Exercises To Start Right Now

Are you inspired to start working out? Here are four exercises you can do at home.

  1. Situps: Start with 15 to 20 sit-ups and increase the amount daily

Source: Flickr

  1. Bicycle: Lying on your back atop a yoga mat, start pedaling with your hands behind your head. Aim for one minute.

Source: Coachmag

  1. Jumping Jacks: This classic gym exercise is good for your heart. Jump, forming a “star” with your arms and legs. Land and repeat.

Source: Laughing

  1. Pushups: Simple and old school, but there isn’t a better arm toning exercise than push-ups. Start with as many as you can safely manage, and try to increase the amount you do weekly.

Source: Freepik

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