Exercise Improves Your Brain
Movement is a panacea for the mind: Here is how your mind is gaining benefits every time you exercise.
Exercise stimulates the brain to grow
As you age, the birth of new brain cells slows, and our brain tissue actually shrinks. Exercise may be able to change that process of aging. A study performed with brain scans of healthy but not physically active people aged 60-79 years of age, showed a significant increase in brain volume after six months of aerobic fitness training. The researchers concluded that improved cardiovascular condition that comes with aerobic exercise is associated with changes in the brains of older people. Cardio workout increases the flow of blood to the brain, which provides more oxygen (brain uses up 20 percent of all the oxygen in your body).
It increases the level of hormones that contribute to the growth of the brain
The chemical process known as (brain derived neurotrophic factor – BDNF), stimulates the growth and proliferation of brain cells. This is especially true in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is largely responsible for memory and that is particularly vulnerable in the aging process. The more you exercise, the more BDNF will be produced.
Fight depression and anxiety
Depression slows down the brain’s ability to process the information, hampers concentration and the process for bringing decisions, ad causes real memory problems. In severe depression, your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants. In milder cases, exercise can help you to raise your mood. Exercise stimulates the production of serotonin in the body and dopamine (brain chemical crucial to a sense of happiness and a better mood), and increases the level of endorphins.
Reduces the effects of stress
If some hormones such as BDNF contribute to rejuvenating the brain, other hormones assist in the process of aging, like hormone cortisol. Slow and distracted thinking and forgetfulness are often caused by stress.
Exercise reduces levels of cortisol, that help you to think again without any mental barriers.
Improves executive functions of the brain
Executive functions of the brain are cognitive abilities, such as being able to focus on complex tasks, to organize, to think abstractly, to plan for future events. These also include working memory, such as the ability to remember a phone number in your head while you dial. When researchers set out to analyze the effects of exercise on executive functions, they made 18 well-designed studies showing that adults aged 55-80 years who regularly exercise are shown four times better on cognitive tests from control groups than those who do not exercise.
Increases the sensitivity of insulin
When you eat, your body most of the food turns into glucose or sugar in the blood, which is the main source of fuel for your body, including the brain. For glucose to enter cells, it must be accompanied by the hormone insulin. Unfortunately, in some people, the cells become resistant to insulin. In that case body have to pump more and more, and yet blood sugar level increases, and this often results in type 2 diabetes. So even if you do not develop type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance is bad for your brain.
When brain cells are flooded with glucose, it can adversely affect memory and thinking.
Regular exercise, however, can reduce insulin resistance. The better you control your blood sugar more will reduce cognitive decline in the process of aging.