How Does Exercise Help Your Brain?

How Does Exercise Help Your Brain?

How Does Exercise Help Your Brain

Have you ever heard of physical exercise for brain health that keeps your brain active and healthy? This may sound rather strange, but it is indeed a fact. Physical exercise is extremely vital not only for maintaining the body's physical health but also mental health. Regular exercise and brain health are interlinked as they ensure that your brain stays active and sharp while protecting you from a variety of mental ailments. Physical and mental activities are both equally important for protecting your thinking skills and preventing you from alzheimer's and dementia.

Exercise And Your Brain

The brain is a marvelous organ that is really no different from the other muscles of the body - if you don't use your brain you will soon forget how to use it. How does exercise help your brain? We make use of physical exercises to stimulate the growth of the muscles in the body just as we make use of brain fitness exercises or programs to tone the brain and increase brain activity. The important thing that should be remembered is that physical exercise has a positive effect on the functioning of the brain. It increases heart rate and pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also helps in releasing a number of hormones that help in providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells. It has also been seen that physical exercise for brain health stimulates the brain and helps in the growth of new connections between cells.

How Does Exercise Help Your Brain?

Studies have shown that the hippocampus, a small region found on both sides of the brain and vital for learning and formation of memory, becomes activated during exercise. It has been proved that the use of physical exercise along with brain training increases the cognitive functions of the brain. It has been seen that activities involving both physical and mental coordination are advantageous for better brain functioning, but any exercise that is good for the heart is good for the brain also. It is a well-known fact that exercise is good for the body to maintain our cardiovascular health, but research has indicated that a healthy heart is conducive to the functioning of the brain also.

Regular Exercise Improves Memory, Thinking Skills

Being physically active has its own advantages that include reducing the risks of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It also helps you lose weight and lower your blood pressure while preventing the onset of a number of ailments. But, most importantly exercise changes the way your brain functions by protecting memory and thinking skills. Moreover, physical exercise for brain health improves mood and sleep and reduces stress and anxiety. When you exercise a specific cognitive function, it will improve that function. If you do tasks that require using your memory, such as retaining and manipulating material in the mind for short periods of time, you will become stronger in that area.

People quite often ask the question regarding the quantum of exercise required for our body. It is normally advised to take in half an hour of physical activity at least 5 days a week. Any physical activity will do - not merely walking, but activities such as swimming, tennis, badminton, or even climbing the stairs. But don't do any physical exercises alone - do it along with a friend or companion to maintain the regularity, prevent lethargy, or dropping off midway.

Normal memory lapses can occur at any age, but they often occur as we grow older. And while the fear of Alzheimer's and dementia do exist, most of our memory-related problems are normally age-related. One such indication is the difficulty to learn new things quickly and the slowing down of the power to recall old memories. Studies have revealed that staying physically active and exercising regularly during your middle age and later can help delay or even prevent the decline in brain function.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad