There’s no doubt that getting regular exercise is essential for a strong, healthy body. Whether it’s cardio, strength training or yoga, the fact is that you have to move your body if you want to stay fit. Working out is good for your body, but did you know it helps your brain too?
Now that you know that exercise is good for your mental state, then it’s time to get moving. If it’s been a while since you’ve been active, there are some simple ways to ease yourself back into it. You should always check with your doctor before starting any exercise, but once you’ve been given a clean bill of health, it’s time to get off of the couch.
Taking the first step toward improving your physical and mental health can be daunting, but there’s no reason to make it harder than necessary. Many California gyms and fitness centers in other states offer fun and engaging classes that will help you get back on track. Gyms also have personal trainers on staff who will help you by developing a workout plan and offer you encouragement as you work out. You might even consider buddying up with a friend to support each other as you get into shape.
Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain as you increase your heart rate. It’s the increase in blood flow that helps your mental state. The more intense the workout, the more you breathe in, and that’s what leads to producing more neurons in your brain. This state is called neurogenesis, and an important factor in growing your brain’s volume. Neurogenesis can help deflect memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
Physical activity can also help with memory and cognition, two important brain functions, especially as you get older. Increasing your heart rate and brain flow leads to an increase in neurotrophins, which are important for brain plasticity or ability to change. When you have a regular exercise routine that includes aerobic activities, you’ll open up your ability to learn faster and to retain information.
Your mood can also be changed by exercising, especially if you’re stressed or depressed. It’s the elevation in norepinephrine and serotonin that are released during exercise that will make you feel happier. When you participate in a group class at the gym you’ll get the benefits of boosting your mood while enjoying the social activities that are part of the class. You’ll also have the benefit of being supported, and supporting others, as you take on the challenge of becoming physically and mentally fit.
It’s not just aerobics that will boost your brain levels. For instance, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial arts practice that has been shown to increase your brain’s cognition. Yoga is excellent for lowering your anxiety levels and increasing serotonin and other chemicals that help with relaxation. Weight lifting and strength training also benefit the brain since it causes you to breathe heavily during the workout.
Whichever exercise routine you choose it’s important that you stick to a routine for the best possible health. Consider this: when you work out you’ll get the benefits of not only a great body and physical health, but your brain will function better and brighter than ever before.