We all know that regular exercise is physically good for our bodies. Research from around the globe, and countless personal experiences from individuals, show you everything you need to know about how working out several times a week can improve the health of your body.
Physical benefits of working out include:
- Stronger bones, lungs, and heart
- Decreased risk of cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Maintain or lose weight
But what about the mental benefits of exercise?
Many of us think about the changes we can see when we exercise, but the mental changes from working out are even more profound. Today we are going to explore several ways that light exercises like yoga, walking, and mild strength training can fundamentally change the way you think for the better.
Let’s dive in!
Everyone wants to feel less stress and improve their happiness, right? It turns out that exercising can play a pivotal role in how your brain makes and handles dopamine, the feel-good chemical.
Have you ever heard of a phenomenon called “runner’s high?” Essentially, people who run regularly report feeling a sense of well-being, experiencing less stress, and having a more positive outlook on life when compared to people with a sedentary lifestyle.
The same benefits associated with running translates well to any activity that promotes more physical activity. Many people see a reduction in stress hormones after exercising due to this extra shot of dopamine. Research backs this theory, and many have suggested that working out several times a week can help reverse depression.
As your body makes dopamine, your brain starts creating new dopamine receptors, which helps promote feelings of happiness.
Boosts Learning and Retention
When you think of exercise, do you think about learning and memory? Most people don’t, but there’s a clear correlation between physical activity and your ability to learn new things and retain information.
We learn through the neuronal connections made in our brains. Each person is different, but as a general rule, spending time working out can help improve your ability to learn and hold on to information.
The UCLA explored this question and came up with some impressive results. Our brain plasticity, or the ability to retain data after an experience occurs, relies on the hormones our body naturally creates. If you have a deficit, you may have trouble focusing, remembering important details, or picking up something new.
Exercise promotes hormone growth, which adds more receptors to our brains over time. As a result, individuals are able to recall information faster and with greater accuracy.
One of the best benefits of exercising is the boost in self-confidence associated with people who keep a regular routine. Some people theorize that the increase in confidence is associated with the physical changes occurring in the body. There’s no doubt that this is true, but there is also something deeper that we have to consider.
When you start exercising for the first time, you’ll likely feel reserved, cautious, and maybe even anxious. The fear of starting something so fundamentally life-changing is enough to shake even the most confident person to their core.
Conquering an exercise routine will give you the confidence to start pursuing other interests in your life. It doesn’t matter if you want to start a blog, go back to college, or anything in between. Once you see that it’s possible to overcome this monumental task, you’ll start wondering, “what else am I capable of?”
There’s no doubt that physical activity should be an essential part of your schedule. The science shows that working out is a natural way to combat stress and fatigue, encourage learning and memory retention, and help you feel more confident in your day to day life.