If you don’t work out your brain, it deteriorates – simple as that. Everybody in the world knows the benefits of regularly exercising and leading a fit lifestyle. Improved metabolism. Healthier heart. Smoldering body. Increased happiness. The list goes on. However, there’s more to fitness than physical improvement – did you know that fitness can also upgrade your brain? Here are 6 ways how fitness improves your mental health.
Brains need oxygen, period. This is because the brain uses huge amounts of energy just to get us moving. Oxygen provides our brains the energy it needs. Exercise is the number one way for giving our brains this oxygen, in the way of blood circulation and the saturation of that blood (with oxygen). That’s why the older you get and the less you move, the faster your brain slows down.
- Brain Cells
Scientists and fitness experts know something everyday people don’t: exercise creates new brain cells. This improves the overall performance of our brains. This is because Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, a protein that provides clearer thinking and increased learning abilities, is increased in production directly because of intense workout and activities.
The University of Minnesota’s Nursing Magazine asked the question “Can exercise delay dementia symptoms?” In the article, Fang Yu (PhD) reveals information about studies she conducted. In these studies, Yu experimented the effects of exercise on 96 people with Alzheimer’s in a 12-month period. She found that “Seeing that physical exercise and cognitive training were so promising, I wondered if combining them would have a synergistic effect.”
Memory loss and cognitive diseases are just a few mental health problems that arise from a lack of exercise. A regular fitness regime delays the onset of these mental diseases.
- Makes You Happier
When you exercise, endorphins are released. Endorphins are responsible for your feelings of happiness, euphoria and relaxation. Athletes and trainers at EOS Fitness know all about the rush of these beautiful endorphins. That’s why anyone who is clinically depressed or suffers from anxiety is highly recommended to work out daily: it is as effective as pharmaceuticals for treating mental disorders.
- Reduce Stress
Nobody likes being a stressed-out maniac, and even less people enjoy spending time with people who are stressed beyond belief. Being increasingly overburdened and worn down by stress raises blood pressure to dangerous levels – which puts your heart at risk. Regular exercise has proven to reduce levels of stress. All it takes is 10-20 minutes of pumping your heart.
- Mental Sharpness
Regular exercise keeps us alert. It improves our concentration and sharpens out mental agility. Moderate intensity exercises have shown to increase energy levels, which is why we feel on-the-ball after a workout. Harvard psychiatrist and author John Ratey went so far as to say that “Exercise is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin,” because it improves our thinking abilities. He says that exercise provides a healthy dose of much-needed focus hours after the exercise. This means that exercise is directly responsible for sharpening your brain. It’s like “miracle-gro” for the brain.
These days, getting some people to exercise is becoming more difficult every day. That’s why legions of health enthusiasts are adamant of leading a healthier, happier (and more useful) lifestyle. The only excuse nowadays that people have is not having enough time to commit to a 30-minute workout… while they spend hours on the couch, binge-watching Netflix. Don’t hesitate – strengthen your brain, starting as soon as you are physically able to.