The Effects of Regular Physical Activity on the Brain

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

We all have heard our doctors saying how beneficial regular physical activity is for both our bodies and minds. And yet, most of us end up being couch potatoes at the end of the day. Well, we decided to write today’s article as a way to motivate you to get up from your couch, exit your comfort zone and take on a new and exciting everyday physical activity. How are we going to do that, you ask? Well, for today’s topic we chose a rather interesting one. We decided that instead of talking about how beneficial the regular physical activity is for the weight loss process, today we talk about how beneficial the regular physical activity is for your brain. That is right! Today we will discuss the benefits of physical exercise on your brain. Can you guess any of them?

The general benefits of physical activity on the whole body

Physical activity, when practiced on a regular level, is known to have far too many health benefits to both the body and the mind, far more than we can list today, that is. Which is why we will only share some of the most significant physical activity benefits on the whole body, only to later discuss the ones on our brains.

  • It prevents osteoporosis and helps build better bone density
  • It boosts your energy levels and fights chronic fatigue caused by medical conditions
  • It improves the skin quality and delays the skin aging process
  • It improves the sleep quality and fights insomnia
  • It relieves chronic pain
  • It boosts your libido and improves your sex life
  • It reduces the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, respiratory diseases, arthritis, etc.

The benefits of regular physical activity on the brain

In the following, we will discuss more the beneficial effects of physical activity on our brain in terms of cognitive skills and mental health. You will quickly discover that there is more than one way that your brain is saying “thank you” to you for exercising on a daily level.

  • It promotes the growth of the brain cells – As we get older, our brain starts to shrink which eventually leads to the expected cognitive decline in advanced age. But regular exercise is believed to be able to reverse that process. In fact, scientific research published in 2012, investigated the effects of regular physical activity on the brain among 120 elderly participants which led to the discovery that physical activity is, in fact, able to promote the growth of the brain cells and increase the brain volume.
  • It improves the learning and mental performance – By improving the blood flow in the brain, and stimulating the growth of the hippocampus, which is responsible for tasks such as learning and memory, physical activity has been found to promote not only changes in the tissue of the brain but improve these functions overall. You will feel more focused, sharp, and ready to tackle the tasks in front of you without a sign of cognitive decline.
  • It reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia – According to scientific research published in the Current Alzheimer’s Research, regular physical activity is a great way to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and any other neurological diseases and mental health issues.
  • It reduces the stress and the complications of it – If you are feeling stressed, that might explain your irritability, insomnia, scattered thinking, and forgetfulness. Exercising three to five times a week, for at least 30 to 45 minutes can help you with that! Physical activity is a known cure for stress, as it lowers the levels of cortisol – the stress hormone efficiently.
  • It promotes good mood and reduces the risk of depression and anxiety – Regular physical activity increases the brain’s sensitivity to serotonin and norepinephrine which causes a relieve of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It has been scientifically proven that regular physical activity is able to relieve the symptoms of depression and those of anxiety. It also improves your mood by boosting the levels of endorphins in the brain!

Final Thoughts

We are all encouraged to take upon regular physical activity, and for a good reason, that is. Or should say multiple reasons. Physical activity is known to have quite a few beneficial effects to both our physical and mental health. Today we got to talk about the beneficial effects of physical activity on our brains. As it turns out, there is nothing that physical activity cannot tackle – from depression, anxiety, and stress, to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. All of these and many other issues can be easily solved by introducing regular physical activity in our lives.

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