Is exercise good for Brain Health?
Absolutely! Aside from keeping your body fit, physical exercise can benefit brain health in many ways. That’s a win-win!
We hit the gym a few times a week, run, or partake in physical activities to keep our bodies’ fit. We also continue learning new tasks, enjoy crossword puzzles, or take on learning a new language to keep our brains in shape. Yet, studies show that not only do our bodies benefit from physical exercise, but so do our brains. That’s a great double benefit, and gives us even more motivation to live a more active lifestyle.
There are untold benefits of exercise (especially when combined with a healthy diet). Brain function, from behavior tendencies to the molecular level can be positively impacted by physical exercise, mostly by aerobic exercise, studies show. Even low impact, brief exercise can improve memory, information processing, and general cognitive functions – according to the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia,
Here are a few of the direct health advantages that physical exercise offer the brain. With cardio exercise, the brain receives more blood flow through increased heart rate, and consequently higher rates of oxygen, which pump through the entire body. Additionally, a wide array of hormones are released to the brain, which are critical to providing a nutrient-rich environment for the growth of brain cells. One can also experience a “runner’s high” thanks to a drop in stress hormones due to higher levels of activity. This, in turn, promotes cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
What types of exercise most benefit brain health?
- Fundamentally, if you move your body to increase heart rate, you also benefit the brain.
- Morning exercise helps stimulate the brain for reduced stress, as well as aiding information retention throughout the day.
- Activities that incorporate many parts of the body seem to provide additional value, such as dance or Zumba.
- Daily aerobic exercise has many benefits to the body, both cardiovascular and mental, while aiding in the repair of damaged brain cells.
- If you hit to gym to primarily lift heavy weights, try circuit routines. This helps both muscle build and increaed heart rate.
- Be consistent, don’t go beyond your abilities, and always consult your physician before starting an exercise regimen.
What’s the Golden Ticket for brain health?
A sensible diet helps develop and maintain the building blocks of health throughout the body, including the brain. Eating right, along with physical exercise, and in conjunction with “brain training“, have a triple-positive effect on the cognitive functions and overall health of the brain. So, stay active with overall body activities like dancing, eat your fish and veggies, and challenge your mind daily to help maximize your brain’s health.
Enjoy life to its Fullest!
Dr. Kevin Crawford
4110 22nd Place Lubbock, TX 79410