10 Ways Exercise Reshapes Your Brain

Mindset // Louise McDonald

Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body, yet exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health.

Here are the ways exercise essentially ‘reshapes’ your way of thinking and perceiving the world around you.

1. More oxygen

The brain uses about three times as much oxygen as muscles in the body do. A lack of oxygen to the brain can result in lower levels of brain function.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which promotes more oxygen to the area and lifts neural productivity.

2. Endorphin and hormonal release

During a workout, the brain releases endorphins and hormones that can reduce anxiety, promote better moods, improve sleeping patterns and help appetite regulation.

3. New brain cells

Regular physical activity has been shown to help with the production of new brain cells, while failure to exercise can cause the brain to shrink.

When you feel a bit of a mental fog creeping in, try a workout to blast it away!

4. Less stress

With the increase in endorphins comes the knock-on effect of less stress and a happier feeling overall. The less cortisol being produced, the better our levels of stress are.

Also read: 10 Ways to De-Stress Quickly

5. Improved memory

Exercise can help memory skills due to its ability to reduce insulin resistance and reduce inflammation for information retention.

Chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells are released through exercise.

6. Sharper focus

Following a decent workout, certain aspects of the brain work harder to resist distractions.

Studies have shown that immediately following exercise, problem solving, focus and attention is much sharper.

7. Commitment to goals

Given that exercise can improve the brain’s capacity to focus and retain patterns and information, we’re more likely to stick to our goals!

8. Improved brain function

Better brain function can aid in relieving stress, improve memory, can help with quality of sleep and boosts overall mood.

Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD and much more.

9. Increased insulin sensitivity

Insulin doesn’t just affect weight and metabolic issues. It’s also very important for memory and cognitive processing.

Insulin also helps to control hunger signals and regulate appetite.

10. Disease prevention

Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of depression, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

There are also studies to suggest that higher levels of brain function can help ward off diseases such as Alzheimer’s. 

So, in summary, feed your brain the same way you feed your body with food, and exercise your way to a higher functioning command centre!

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