Increase Your Brain Power With Exercise!
Words by Adam Bailey; Bailey Fitness
We’re all aware of the physical benefits of exercise. But are you aware that regular workouts are also hugely advantageous to your brain?
From the ever-present aspect of ‘brain fog’ (something that only seems to increase as we age), through to learning new things, recall and memory – both short and long-term – there’s a bunch of scientifically proven virtues that exercise brings to the party.
Regular exercise alters the brain
The effects of exercise on the brain are incredibly positive. A study carried out by the University of British Columbia and published via Harvard Medical School* in the US shows that regular aerobic exercise helps the brain in many direct and indirect ways.
Physical exertion that gets you out of breath and sweating causes the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory) to increase in size. Scientists have discovered that cardiovascular exercise carried out regularly has the following effects:
- Stimulating chemicals within the brain responsible for the health of brain cells
- Supporting the growth of new blood vessels within the brain
- Being a vital factor of the abundance and longevity of new brain cells
Exercise also indirectly benefits that brain, thanks to improving factors associated with cognitive impairment:
- Aiding better sleep
- Improves mood
- Reduces anxiety and stress
As well as these long-term effects, there are also big perks immediately during and after a workout. Even a short session brings about significant behavioural performance, with studies ** showing that some regions of the brain (the prefrontal cortex and right frontal polar area) are directly activated, as is that of working memory.
Add in the fact that exercise stimulates the production of adrenaline, the hormone responsible for motivation, perception, and attention, and you begin to get an idea of quite how powerful regular training is.
All exercise counts, so mix it up to keep life interesting
A common mistake is to associate exercise with having to go to the gym, for a run or something similar. Now, if that’s what you enjoy, then great! You can be content in the fact that you’re not only priming your muscles, but you’re honing your brain as well.
But what about those of us who don’t get quite the same buzz from such activities? Let’s face it, pounding the treadmill road to nowhere or cycling the road to hell on an exercise bike doesn’t do it for everyone.
Thinking outside the box comes into play here. Because cardiovascular exercise – or aerobic exercise, to use a different term – is simply an activity that raises your heart and respiration rate.
And this can be achieved in any way you like, such as:
- Running around with the kids
Or anything else that you can think of!
Most scientific studies consider the benefits through moderate workouts – in other words; there’s no need for marathon training. Moderate activity is around 150 minutes of exercise per week. And the good news is that even short bursts count – so run up that flight of stairs, get off the train or bus a stop early and walk, run with the kids in the park, dance as you vacuum – you get the picture.
Take advice from the pros
However, with increasingly sedentary lifestyles, many of us struggle to get enough aerobic exercise each week. Advice from a professional source becomes invaluable. The expert staff at Bailey Fitness can suggest a variety of activities that’ll get your blood flowing and, most importantly, keep you interested and motivated.
It’s also important to know that while resistance training and muscle toning exercise don’t appear to have the same brain-boosting power, it’s still vital to include these. Not only do they spice up the variety of your exercise efforts, but they also have other crucial implications for all-round body health.
From fitness classes that include dance workouts, martial arts and HIIT training, through to personal trainers, Muay Thai and more, the friendly staff at Bailey Fitness will be delighted to help you discover the perfect way to boost both body and mind.
Check out their website at Bailey Fitness to find out more.