Most people exercise for the reason of physical gains. Whether you exercise or not, your notion of exercise is that it improves one’s fitness, like building lean muscle mass and strength while also burning unwanted fats. But that’s not what exercise is all about. Studies have proven that aside from physical benefits, exercise can also increase the productivity of the brain through the following:
Exercise Can Improve Mental Health
The brain may not be as productive when you are undergoing some mental conditions. When you are depressed, it does not only affect your physical aspects but also your mental functions. Accordingly, exercise can have the same potency as anti-depressant pills and psychological treatments with both aerobic and resistance exercises providing relief to depression symptoms.
When your brain is stressed out, yoga exercises can help. This is because it can turn on the body’s relaxation response after a stage of ‘fight or flight’ mode. It can also improve one’s mood. During physical activity, endorphin can get into the brain, which can give a pleasurable effect.
Exercise Can Boost Your Memory
Hippocampus is the part of your brain that strongly responds to aerobic exercises. This part of the brain is located at the core of the learning and memory system of the brain. When individuals get fitter, its structure grows. This may explain the ability of physical exercises in boosting memory.
In another study, it showed that learning can also be improved during exercise. During walking or cycling, learning a foreign language can be easier, according to some researchers.
Exercise Can Improve Focus
Do you have problems concentrating on your work or any task assigned to you? Aerobic exercises can help with achieving your focus. This has been proven with a study involving pupils. 20-minutes of aerobic exercises in between lessons improved the attention span of the children. But this is not only good for children alone. It can also improve concentration among adults so you may be able to do multitasking and holding information in your mind while ignoring distractions.
In addition to gaining concentration, regular exercise can also allow you to learn new information. Exercise can prepare and let nerve cells bind to one another which promotes further brain function. For children with neuro-behavioral disorders, exercise is truly important for their development.
Exercise Can Slow Down Cognitive Decline
One of the many manifestations of aging is a decline in cognitive functions. While the rate may differ from one senior to another, regular exercise can actually slow down the rate. There is evidence that physically fit older adults are generally brain healthy also. One of the reasons is the effect of aerobic exercise on the memory of an individual. Forgetfulness is a usual issue among seniors. With the effect of exercise on the hippocampus, loss of memory among seniors can be stalled. This may delay the onset of dementia.
Seniors need not go into heavy exercise routines. 30 – 45 brisk walking 3x a week can be all that a senior needs to fend off cognitive wear and tear.
Exercise Can Enhance Creativity
Studies showed that regular exercise is associated with convergent and divergent thinking. These two are essential components of creative thinking. Convergent thinking is thinking of one solution to a problem. On the other hand, divergent thinking is thinking of many solutions to one problem.
Walking is said to be excellent for divergent thinking. You can do it by simply going to the park on foot or through a treadmill. Make it a habit and you may find all the solutions to everyday struggle.
Exercise Can Raise Your Self-Esteem
When you exercise regularly and achieve the physical goals that you set, like losing those body fats and gaining lean muscle mass, you feel good about yourself. It results in fostering your self-worth. Gaining your self-esteem has many benefits to your mental well-being. You will surely enjoy your life more with fewer health issues.
When all of these, are achieved, you will surely become more resilient when faced with challenges in life. Instead of resorting to drugs, alcohol, and other vices, engaging in physical activities is the better option. It will not be hard for you to be calm, stay focused, and creative when problems arise. All you may have to do is not to disrupt your exercise habits and you will surely come out victorious. Don’t just sit down. Get on those walking shoes. You will surely figure out which way you should be going.