We all know that exercise is great for our bodies. It helps us feel good, control weight, build lean muscles and boost our immune system. But did you know that exercise is actually great for the health of our brains too? Here are two of the ways that regular fitness benefits the mind.
Memory and Focus
While it can often be easier to observe the physical effects of exercise, it’s also interesting and important to take note of the effects fitness can have on memory and focus. Studies show that even after exercising for 20 minutes, the brain is able to better process information and memory functions at a higher capacity.
This is due to a couple of factors. First of all, an increased heart rate pumps more oxygen to the brain while more hormones are released that aid in the creation of brain cells. Second, after a study conducted at NCLA, it was determined that exercise increases connections and communication between brain cells. All of this increased activity helps the brain stay active, which helps with focus and memory.
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Another significant effect of exercise on the brain is how it contributes to your mood. You may have already heard of this as a “runner’s high” or an endorphin rush. Put simply, exercise increases the hormones (known as serotonin and dopamine) that makes us feel good and positive. In fact, studies suggest that exercise can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety by reducing feelings of anger, fatigue and tension.
To benefit from this mood booster, doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week.
So put on those runners, grab a few friends and head to the gym or get outside because the benefits of exercise reach far beyond physical health.
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