We all know that aerobic exercise is effective at reshaping and conditioning the body – but consider all it can do for your brain:
IMPROVES YOUR MOOD. If you’ve ever been under a lot of stress and decided to let off some steam by taking a brisk walk around the block you know what physical activity can do for your mental state. It makes you feel better, more optimistic. Studies show that exercisers routinely experience an improvement in their mood, regardless of whether the workout was vigorous or low intensity. One explanation is that exercise releases endorphins, which are ‘feel good’ hormones in our body.
STABILIZES YOUR EMOTIONS. Research has consistently shown that exercise stabilizes emotions and increases self-confidence while lowering anxiety, feelings of helplessness, depression, and hostility. In fact, studies have found that the most effective antidepressant is a combination of exercise and psychotherapy.
HELPS MANAGE STRESS. Exercise has been proven to reduce the physical symptoms of stress as well – even better than medication. For instance, exercise may reduce muscle tension more effectively than tranquilizers. If you exercise regularly, you are likely to have a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure, and you should be better able to handle the negative effects of stress on your body.
IMPROVES INTELLECT. Exercise may improve your work performance. Researchers have discovered a significant connection between exercise and enhanced intellectual function, memory, and creativity. It also improves our ability to solve problems.
MAY REDUCE RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. Recent studies show that regular exercise may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One reason is that exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain and it may reduce the “plaque” in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
PROVIDES A POSITIVE INFLUENCE. Finally, by exercising you gain a sense of accomplishment and a sense of control over your life. Knowing that you are doing something good for yourself becomes a positive influence in other areas, from your relationships to your career to your other daily activities.
So start exercising and give your body AND your brain a healthy boost!