Most of us initially get into exercising for the physical benefits we seek – weight loss, muscle toning, energy and stamina development. Many us soon realise the flow on affect exercise has on our mind, it boosts our mood, provides mental clarity and fills us with confidence and a sense of achievement.
Recent studies have found these benefits go further and improve our memories, intelligence, and ability to process information. It also decreases our risk for general dementia and onset of Alzheimer’s.
Listed below are the impressive advantages your favourite ways to exercise has on the health of your brain.
Benefits of Cardio Vascular Training
Whether you’ve been running for years or just recently bought your first pair of shoes, you can be assured that your exercise is doing wonders for your brain.
Any form of exercise you undertake has amazing benefits on your brain, whether you are a seasoned fitness fanatic or a novice who just bought his fair pair of running shoes, your brain is all the better for it.
In a recent medical study it was found that middle aged persons (40-65) who participated in moderate to high (strenuous) cardio vascular exercises four times a week performed better in cognitive tests than those who did less than one hour of similar workout a week.
Regularly exercising provides a steady blood flow to your brain and assists in clearing up and removing dead neural cells. Study similar to this attribute regular exercise to good cardio vascular function which in turns provides regular clean blood to the brain and assists in fighting off age related symptoms of declining mental impairment.
Perhaps as a result of the improved cognitive performance the study also found that those who exercise regularly have better control of language processing than those who are sedentary. This includes both the ability to understand and process words as well as being able to have a wider vocabulary. Due to the flow of fresh blood through exercise, the brain is able to form new nerve cells and blood vessels and increase the functionality of the part of the brain responsible for language.
Endurance training has also been discovered to improve communication by boosting the amount the of white matter in the brain.
At the same time it has been discovered that moderate-intensity training programme of walking for three times a week for 26 weeks noticeably improved peoples memory retention and planning ability – both of which decline with the onset of Alzheimer’s. It does this by more efficiently utilising fuel to power our brain cells in the regions affected by Dementia.
A more rigorous form of exercise, such as hight intensity interval training was link in the same study to prevent age related mental decline.
Benefits of Resistance Training
Strength training has its own set of contributions to our cognitive development and protection. By increasing our resistance training, wether with weights or our own body weight we make vast improvements to our brains overall health, wellness and ability to heal itself.
In a recent study researchers found that resistance training improved the brains ability to remember relationship between different unrelated objects and events. It also increased brains ability to heal and rewire itself as well as strengthened the power of focus and attentiveness.
Many studies have conclusively found that regular resistance training positively impacts the brain’s frontal lobe – this part of the brain is responsible for our most important daily functions such as speech and language, attention and concentration, organisation and planning, memory, and reasoning. Even in adult with a high risk of developing of Alzheimers, regular strength training for several months was found to have improved their brain function and delayed the onset of Dementia and Alzheimers.
Benefits of Yoga exercises
It’s probably no surprise that regular yoga practice does wonders for your brain. A 2019 review looked at 11 previous studies about how yoga and brain health are connected and found that those who regularly did yoga had a larger amount of grey matter volume in their brains than those who didn’t do yoga. Grey matter plays a role in intelligence and increased overall brain function, especially as you get older. Yoga has also been attributed to reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The poses are simple, beneficial for motor skills and can be done by people or any fitness level.
The Main Take Away
Whatever form of exercise you do, whether you’re training with weights and hitting the gym regularly or enjoy regular walks with your dog or are into yoga or competitive running or surfing or a regular run around with your friends, know that any and all exercise is having amazing benefits on your brain and mental health.
Even if you have never been active your whole life and had no inclination for exercises, know that by doing something regularly for a few months you can have amazing results on your body and mind.