The powerful reasons why your brain needs exercise
We all know that exercise improves people’s quality of life. The body improves its physical condition and psychologically we feel positive and optimistic. During the last few years science has discovered many benefits of physical activity that positively impact the brain. These benefits influence all areas of life, achieving enriching experiences in work, leisure and interpersonal relationships.
Below you will know why your brain needs exercise and how it positively influences your daily routine.
1. Adaptive advantages for your brain
Several scientific studies affirm that physical exercise favors the increase of transmitters such as endorphins, dopamine and noradrenaline. These transmitters intensify the feeling of psychological well-being, which generates a strong motivation when facing any activity. That means that if you exercise you will have a positive predisposition in your work, you will have more willpower to fulfill your objectives and you will elevate your work performance in general. In short, whatever your activity is, your brain will carry it out with assertiveness and precision.
2. Increased blood flow to the brain
Physical exercise increases blood flow to the brain. During movement there is a strong demand for energy to specific areas of the brain such as the premotor cortex, the sensory-motor cortex and the supplementary motor cortex. Therefore, there is also a strong demand for oxygen that is met through the flow of blood. This process generates a powerful advantage in overall cognitive functioning, which especially benefits intellectual activities. Physical exercise is of great benefit to students. It enhances learning of any subject, strengthens memory, and improves concentration.
3. Benefits on the hippocampus of the brain
For many years it was believed that the adult brain could not create new neurons and that as time went by the tendency was to lose neurons. A 1999 scientific study by the Salk Institute for Bilogical Studies in California determined that physical exercise creates new neurons. Thanks to the oxygenation produced by exercise, neurons are activated and regenerated. This process occurs in the hippocampus, the area of the brain in charge of learning. Then this activity is replicated in other areas of the brain such as the parietal cortex, the frontal lobe, the cingulate gyrus, among others. This process generates electrical and chemical changes in the synapse of the cerebral neurons. These changes benefit the cognitive functions such as language, attention and execution of different tasks.
4. Prevents brain deterioration
A study conducted by the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and the University of Western Sydney in Australia concluded that cardiovascular exercise such as walking or running decreases the natural deterioration that occurs in the brain as a result of aging. Exercise also prevents the brain from shrinking over time. This is very important, since the brain reduces in size after the age of 40. The reduction is about 5% per decade. In addition, regular exercise prevents typical diseases in older adults such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression and dementia.
5. Controls anxiety
Anxiety is a mental disorder that consists of suffering extreme fear for something that did not happen. Who suffers this problem worries excessively about something that could happen in the future. The physical exercise can alleviate this disorder considerably. A scientific research made by the International Clinical Psychopharmacology during physical exercise the brain releases serotonin and endorphins, which generates an immediate relaxation and a deep sense of well being. Serotonin directly influences the state of mind of the individual, who feels in good mood and with good predisposition towards his environment.
6. Pain modulator
Health science has used the analgesic effects that physical exercise has on patients suffering from chronic pain: some types of cancer, fibromyalgia, low back pain, among others. During exercise, endogenous opioids are released which activate the analgesic process in the brain. For this reason, many doctors prescribe an exercise program tailored to the specific situation and needs of the patient suffering from chronic pain. Experience indicates that physical exercise is as effective as medication in fighting pain. In addition, the training improves the patient’s quality of life, improving the functionality of his or her body.
The answer to the question “Why your brain needs exercise?” is simple: your brain needs exercise to improve cognitive functions. Physical activity promotes good learning, strengthens memory and enhances concentration. A brain stimulated with physical exercise guarantees a good quality of life.