The brain just like any part of the body requires good food; good sleep and of course good exercise to maintain balance and perform well. It would seem surprising to a lot of people to know that their brain also benefits from exercises.
If you are indeed surprised, ask yourself this question for one: Do you know your brain requires oxygen? Yes! It does, the brain requires a constant supply of oxygen and glucose. Without enough oxygen or when there is a low blood-oxygen level in the brain, the brain would have trouble signaling where to send blood to oxygen-hungry muscles and tissues, and that would be very bad.
But not to worry because exercises do just that. Exercise makes the heart pump blood faster and in the process sends a substantial amount of blood to the brain which exposes the brain to more oxygen and nutrients. This sounds interesting, right? Well then, I have a lot more to reveal to you.
Exercises are not all about improving your muscle size, it also helps to improve your physical health, trim your waistline, burn fats, improve your sex life, and it also adds years to your life (as a lot of people believe). It does not stop here; exercises also improve your mental health and general well being.
Let’s now go into details.
How Exercise Affects the Brain
Exercise aids the release of hormones
Exercises aid the release of hormones and these hormones provide an excellent environment for the growth of the brain cells. Amongst these hormones include Dopamine and Endorphins: Remember Dopamine? (From our previous article on the Effects of Masturbation on the brain), this hormone is one of the “happiness hormones” that are related to the brain’s reward system.
Endorphins on the other hand are the body’s natural pain reliever, endorphins also have de-stressing and mood-boosting effects. And this brings us to another benefit of exercises on the brain.
Exercises reduce stress and boots your mood
Regular exercises have a tremendous and profoundly positive impact on anxiety, depression, ADHD, and many more mental health problems. Exercise does not only improve your mood, but it also gives you a better sleep.
Exercise promotes the brain plasticity
Brain plasticity or ‘Neuroplasticity’ as it is also known, is the ability of the brain to undergo biological changes, ranging from the cellular level all the way to the large-scale changes involving cortical remapping (the process by which an existing cortical map is affected by a stimulus resulting in the creating of a ‘new’ cortical map). Every part of the body is connected to a corresponding area in the brain which creates a cortical map. Such changes often happen as a result of psychological experiences. The exercise here helps stimulates the growth of new connections between cells in many important cortical areas of the brain.
Exercise increases growth factors in the brain
These growth factors are what make it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections. Remember, neurons are the nerve cells that send and receive signals from the brain. You don’t want to imagine what would happen if the medium they use is poor.
Exercise improves your self-esteem
Yes! When you start having the perfect body figure and shape you always admired on other people, your self-esteem would definitely and greatly improve.
So what more are you waiting for? Start exercising for a least an hour daily or even for just 30 minutes for a start (as recommended by most professionals). To make it more fun, try joining a team; either a football team, volleyball, dancing, swimming, or any other sports or gymnastics that seems like fun to you. This will make exercises more appealing and enticing. Joining a team will force you to create a time, as such teams will always have meetups and training schedule. But if you are not the team type, you are at liberty to create your own schedule and do your solo exercise(s) to your taste.
Always remember! Exercises are supposed to be fun. Don’t venture into something you are not okay it. And lastly, Determination is Key! Don’t give up easily. Happy exercising!