How Exercise Changes the Brain
Exercise does incredible things for you, both physically and mentally. There are many benefits to exercising, from boosting your energy levels to helping you deal with symptoms of depression or other mental health issues. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that your brain is one organ that benefits from exercise just as much as your muscles do!
We're not saying that you're going to get a larger brain with more exercise, but exercising does have both direct and indirect effects on the brain and its functions! It is incredible when looked at closely, but how exercise changes the brain does also depend on the type of exercise that you are doing.
First, let's delve into concentration and focus, one of the more immediate effects of what exercise does to the brain. As you exercise, your body for some reason makes thing easier to laser focus on exactly what you're doing.
You will likely be able to concentrate better for more extended periods and ignore distractions a lot easier than you usually would. This can be amazing not only to your quality of life but your exercise too. It has a knock-on effect that lets you maximise your workouts, which, in turn, is going to have a more significant impact on your brain in the long run. And so the cycle starts to fuel itself and generate some traction. Cool, right!
Because of the effect of bettering the concentration of your brain, your memory increases as a direct result. The ability to retain knowledge improves as your brain begins to make neural pathways much more easily. It's bizarrely most useful when you are learning during exercise, and it only really applies to aerobic cardio training like running or biking. Weight training doesn't seem to have the same effect, though you shouldn't stop doing it by any means!
Believe it or not, your energy levels shoot up the more you manage to fit exercise into your general life. You won't feel as wiped out as you'd think. If you start to work out regularly, your body and your brain will both thank you for it. It sounds counter-intuitive since you are using energy to do the exercise in the first place, but it works.
Once you break down the science, it starts to make sense. Exercise creates a rush of endorphins, which usually take the credit for the feel-good factor exercising brings to the rest of your day. Endorphins also help you regulate a lot of bodily functions and keep things running as they should be. In the long run, you feel better both for exercising and the satisfaction that comes with achievement.
We'll round off with anxiety, an increasingly more prevalent and far-reaching issue in modern society. The more that you exercise, the more of the combination of factors above trickle down into other areas of life.
Your exercise will help you sleep better at night, an obstacle for many people and a large propagator of fuelling anxious feelings. As you combine all the above benefits exercise has on the brain, you'll regulate your metabolism and other functions in the body. This can help you deal better with stress, depression and anxiety.
Overall, exercise can do things to the brain in more ways than you'd think. It's essential to make yourself as happy as you can do, from both a physical and a mental perspective.
Your level of fitness and your mental health are intertwined and reflect massively on your sense of self, so having the two in good shape goes further than you may realise. If you can find a way to exercise in a way that you enjoy, you're doing a fantastic thing. Happiness and good health are heavily correlated, so do what's best for you, not other people.
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.