Exercise for Brain Health
We all know that exercise is a fundamental step in any weight loss plan and in keeping your body in tip-top shape. But studies have shown that exercise is also a great way to keep your mind sharp. Regular daily exercise helps you maintain your heart health, blood pressure levels and weight. It also improves your mood, boosts energy and lowers stress and anxiety, all of which relate to the healthy functions of your brain.
How does Exercise Affect Your Brain?
Exercise can affect your brain in multiple ways:
- Exercise increases your heart rate and pumps more oxygen to your brain. This helps flush out any excess brain metabolic waste.
- It has also been shown to stimulate the growth of new cells and new neuronal connections, specifically in the part of your brain that is responsible for learning and memory (hippocampus).
As we age, it is natural for some areas of the brain to decrease in size. This decrease diminishes your brain cell count. So when you incorporate exercise into your daily routine you’re not only aiding your weight loss and wellness plan, but also promoting new brain cell growth that will improve your memory and ability to learn and retain new things.
Exercising for More Than Just Weight Loss; Which Exercises Are Right for You?
Typically, any type of activity that is good for the heart is good for the brain. However, different types of exercise may prove to be more beneficial for your brain function than others. They may also prove to be more fun. You want to choose what best suits your lifestyle and your weight loss goals. Here are some options that will make you work up a sweat mentally and physically:
- Aerobic exercise is always beneficial and can help repair damaged brain cells. Cycling over running has shown improved brain function during and after working out.
- Choreographed dancing such as ballroom dance requires that you engage your mind as well as your body because you have to focus on coordination, rhythm and strategy.
- Exercising in the morning has shown to cause an increase in brain function and can prepare you for the mental stresses of the day.
- If you hit a plateau or you feel mentally exhausted, try doing some gentle exercise to reboot your brain.