Most people work out all the time to have a great physique, strengthen their body and enhance their cardiovascular health. However working out brings so many other advantages. In the past specialists have considered how working out can enhance brain function.
Regardless of one’s age or level of fitness, regular exercise brings a host of great mental benefits. Here are 13 ways on how training your body helps your brain
1. It lowers stress – If you had a tough day at work, walk around or go to the gym and work out a bit. The main mental benefit of working out is stress relief. Exercising also improves norepinephrine concentration. Norepinephrine is the chemical which moderates how the brain responds to stress. So working out lowers stress and enhances the body’s ability to handle the existing mental tension
2. Can boost happy chemicals – Exercise releases endorphins, which then creates a feeling of happiness and euphoria. Research has also shown that exercise can reduce symptoms among those who are clinically depressed. This is the reason why medics recommend that the people who suffer from anxiety or depression work out more. In other cases, working out can be a perfect antidepressant pill for treating depression.
3. Can enhance self-confidence – On a basic level, being physically fit boosts one’s self-esteem and improves positive self-image. Regardless of gender, age, weight or size, exercising can elevate one’s perception of how attractive he or she is and that is self worth.
4. Enjoy wonderful outdoors – Working out in great outdoors increases self-esteem even more. You only need to determine which outdoor exercise is suitable for you. Additionally, the vitamin D gotten from exercising outdoors can lower the possibility of having stress symptoms.
5. Can prevent cognitive reduction – As we grow old, the brain becomes hazy. Ageing and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer kill brain cells, and most brain functions get lost in the process. Eating healthy and exercising can protect the brain against cognitive reduction that starts after age 45 exercising. Mostly, it starts between age 25 and 45, improving the chemicals that stop the degeneration of the hippocampus (a section of the brain meant for learning and memory).
6. Reduces anxiety – The fuzzy warm chemicals produced during and after working out can help those suffering from anxiety disorders to calm down. Exercises such power lifting and body lifting can lower anxiety sensitivity.
7. Enhances brain power – The buff rats can be intelligent than how people think. Most studies on mice and men have shown that cardiovascular exercise can form new brain cells and enhance the overall performance of the brain. Tough exercising increases the level of brain derived protein referred to as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps in decision making, learning and higher thinking.
8. Boosts memory – Regular exercise can boost memory and the ability to learn new things. Sweating improves the production of cells in the hippocampus which are responsible for learning and memory. This is the main reason why research has linked the development of a child’s brain with fitness level. However, exercise-based brainpower is not only for children. Even if it is not fun as a Red Rover game, exercising can improve memory among adults as well.
9. Helps in controlling addiction – The brain produces dopamine which is the reward chemical in response to any type of pleasure be it food, alcohol, drugs, or sex. Unfortunately, most people get addicted to dopamine and they depend on the things that produce them (mostly alcohol and drugs). The good thing is that working out can help one to recover from addiction. Short workout sessions can also distract alcohol or drug addicts and this makes them to de-prioritise cravings. Alcohol abuse interrupts most processes of the body including circadian rhythms. This is why alcoholics find it difficult to fall asleep without drinking. Working out can help in rebooting the body clock.
10. Increases relaxation – For most people, moderate exercise can be equivalent to a sleeping pill, even for those who suffer from insomnia. Walking around some hours before going to bed increases the body’s core temperature. When the body temperature goes back to normal later, it is a sign that it is time to sleep.
11. Get so much done – If you feel uninspired the solution could be a little exercise. Experts found that workers who exercise regularly are more productive and possess more energy compared to their sedentary peers. A busy schedule can make it difficult to have a workout session at midday; experts believe that midday is the perfect time to exercise because of the circadian rhythms of the body.
12. Tap into creativity – Many people end a heavy workout with a warm shower. A heart-pumping workout session can enhance creativity for up to two hours afterwards. Post-gym inspiration can be supercharged by exercising outdoors. The next time you want a creative thinking burst you should consider hitting the rails for a walk or run to refresh the brain and the body at the same time.
13. Inspire other people – Whether it is running with a friend, a group at the gym or a football game, working out does not happen in a bubble. This is great news because studies have found that many people do well on aerobic tests when they are paired with a workout buddy. Being in a team is so powerful that it can even improve an athlete’s pain tolerance. Even fitness starters can inspire one another to push harder while in a sweat session. So it is good to have a workout buddy.
Training your body has a positive impact far beyond the gym. Acquiring self confidence, thinking smarter and moving out of the funk are a few motivations to create time for regular exercising. You only need to determine the right physical exercise and have a schedule. Also, if you need to change your workout; find an activity that can incorporate coordination together with cardiovascular exercise.
Ellen Royce is an Essex-based web writer. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Essex. Aside from her passion for technology and culture, she is also interested about psychology, mental health, and well-being. Ellen currently works as a corporate project manager, and spends her spare time working for new outlets for her creativity. You can learn more about her on her website.