We are all (hopefully) well aware of at least some of the numerous physical benefits of exercise. But did you know that exercise has a positive impact on your brain as well?
Even a basic and fundamental movement like walking for 45 minutes per day has been shown to be beneficial. However, simply finding 30 has become an impossibility for some. In fact, regardless of our rising levels of obesity, chronic stress and cardiovascular conditions we still continue to struggle to place value on this necessity.
And here we are today, where we have managed to engineer out all forms of movement with (you guessed it)…sitting and not only are our bodies and health paying the price but so is our brain.
So here are 3 reasons that exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your BRAIN today.
- Simply moving your body for 30minutes or more will have immediate effects on your brain. That single workout increases all the feel-good hormones within the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. That means your mood will skyrocket. You will feel motivated, happy, accomplished and focused. But these effects are short-lived. Which mean you will have to keep up with a regular exercise routine to get these long-lasting effects. In fact, if you keep this up you will actually change the brains, anatomy, physiology and function. What exercise does over the long term is encourages new brain cells in the hippocampus – apart of your brain that form and retain new long-term memory – which means your memory will improve.
- Do you find that your attention constantly drifts? You will be working away and then randomly pick up your phone, stare out the window or just simply put procrastinate? Yes! Well, that may be because you aren’t moving your body the way it was designed for. The most common finding in neuroscience studies, looking at effects of long-term exercise, is improved attention which is ruled by apart of your brain called the prefrontal cortex – this is a part of your brain just behind your forehead which is important for decision making, focus, attention and most importantly your personality. So by working out your body, you literally work out your brain.
- Lastly, and my personal favourite is that exercises has a protective effect on the brain. Again, think of the brain as a muscle, the more your work it the bigger and stronger the muscle will get. The same is said for the brain. The more you move your body, the bigger, and stronger your hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex will grow. I know you are probably thinking, why is that important? Here is where the protective part comes in. These two areas of the brain are the most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. So by moving your body regularly, keeping up with a routine and trying new ways to move your body, you will not cure dementia but you will ensure you create the biggest, strongest brain so these conditions take longer to have an effect.
So given that it is movement month at Up! Chiropractic we recommend bringing exercise into your life, so you will not only gain a happier, more productive, focus and motivated life, but will give you the best chance at protecting your brain for the long run against neurodegenerative conditions. And in this way, it will change the trajectory of your life for the better – Cheers to that!
Dr Kaitlyn 🙂
**For more information on this topic check out Wendy Suzuki’s TED talk – the brain changing benefits of exercise**