23rd October 2022
Exercise – Good for the Body and Mind
We’ve all heard that exercise is good for us. It reduces the risk of major illnesses like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer; and can reduce the risk of early death by up to 30%. But did you know that exercise is not only good for your physical body, but also for your mental and emotional health too? Yes! Physical activity actually improves your cognitive health, which means it can make you cleverer. It can help you think, learn and problem-solve better.
- Exercise Feeds the Brain
The first thing exercise does is that it increases blood flow. With more blood reaching the brain, it has more oxygen and the nutrients necessary to allow it to carry out its job at optimum level.
- Exercise Makes us Cleverer
Many studies have suggested that the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex – the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory – have a greater volume in people who exercise, compared to those who don’t. In layman’s terms, the bigger the brain, the better it works, so the cleverer we become.
- Exercise Improves Memory and Reduces the Risk of Cognitive Decline
Exercise has also been shown to improve memory and in the long run, can reduce cognitive decline, which is one of the factors that lead to dementia. One study found that cognitive decline is almost twice as common among adults who are inactive compared to those who are active.
Researchers in this study have also found that aerobic exercise – the kind that gets your heart rate up and sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus. That’s the part of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.
- Exercise Reduces Inflammation and Stimulates Growth FactorsOther benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate the release of growth factors. Growth factors are chemicals that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new brain blood vessels, and even the number and survival of new brain cells.
- Exercise Makes us HappierExercise is good for our emotional wellbeing too. The endorphins released during exercise can lift our moods and may even reduce anxiety. People who exercise sleep longer and have a better quality of sleep. Because exercise improves a person’s mood and sleep patterns, it helps to reduce stress and anxiety. These factors are important because poor sleep patterns and erratic moods also affect cognitive functioning. That’s why we’re always trying to make sure kids get a good night’s sleep before a big test – because a well-rested brain is a better-functioning brain.
It's clear then, that exercise is good for our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That’s 30 minutes a day for 5 days. Whether you choose to go to the gym, cycle, walk, swim, or play a sport like football, make sure you’re getting sufficient exercise every week. Stay motivated by getting an exercise buddy or by keeping things interesting by doing a different type of physical activity on different days.
But don’t stop there. You can also maintain or even improve your brain function by ensuring you take a supplement that includes elements that are considered brain food. Hashmats Health A-Z Multivitamins has 33 nutrients including:
- Vitamin C (helps cells to properly use neurological chemicals like dopamine, helps maintain brain cells and generate/maintain brain connections),
- Vitamin D (helps to regulate genes that are important for brain function), • Iron (plays a key role in normal brain function and the processes of brain development),
- Amino Acids (aids with normal brain functioning)
- and many more.
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