Did you know that exercise is important for more than just physical reasons? Exercising plays a significant role in maintaining brain health by helping your brain remain sharp. Similar to how the muscles in your body function, if you don’t use your brain power, you will begin to lose it. This is why it is so important to stress the importance of brain health. If you are wondering how physical exercise contributes to your mental state, there are numerous reasons.
Increases Heart Rate
Physical activity increases your heart rate, which isn’t only good for your heart but your brain as well. This is because the more your heart pumps, the more oxygen there will be going to your brain. Increasing your heart rate also helps release hormones, which assist in creating a friendly environment that promotes the growth of brain cells.
Stimulates Brain Plasticity
Brain plasticity, or neuroplasticity, refers to your brain’s ability to change over time. Brain plasticity is vital because it is required throughout adulthood for whenever something new is learned. Exercise plays an important role here because physical activity stimulates brain plasticity, which promotes the development of new connections between cells. Exercise boosts growth factors in the brain, which makes it easier for the brain to generate the connections required for expanding your mind through learning new things!
Positively Impacts Mental Health
From a mental health perspective, physical exercise is wonderful! In fact, I am sure you are familiar or
understand the idea of a “runner’s high,” which is where an exercise routine boosts a person’s mood. This occurs because physical activity causes a drop in stress hormones, which creates the same effect as an
antidepressant. This antidepressant like effect isn’t only beneficial for your mood. In fact, lowering stress hormones has also been associated with stimulating cell growth in an area of the brain that contributes to both memory and retention.
As you can see, there are many reasons why exercise is beneficial to brain health so now comes the question of what type of exercise is best for maintaining brain health? The answer is really anything because any type of activity that is good for your heart, will be good for your brain. However, there are some exercises that are known to work wonders for increasing cognitive function. These exercises include activities that require both physical and mental function. For instance, dance classes are highly recommended for brain health because they require both physical and mental agility because participants must physically complete moves while remembering what those moves are. Dance classes like Zumba, also promote coordination and rhythm, which integrate various parts of the brain.
A perfect example to demonstrate how physical exercise directly impacts brain health is to do this small experiment. The next time you experience brain fog or hit a wall while at work, get up from your desk and jump around or do a few jumping jacks. You will shortly realize that after doing this physical activity, you feel more energized, alert and able to focus on the task at hand.
Promoting brain health is just one of the many reasons why you should be participating in a regular exercise routine. If you live in or around Petaluma, California, and are having trouble getting motivated or are unsure about where to start with an exercise routine, The Redwood Club is here to help!