In a way, the brain is like a muscle. You have to exercise it to grow, albeit not in the same way as muscle growth. You can read books, converse with people, and engage in other mentally stimulating activities, such as painting.
But did you know that performing physical exercises can also translate to mental activities? Each time you engage in, say, high-intensity interval training, you’re also engaging your brain. Here’s how it happens.
The hippocampus is the brain area with a solid response to aerobic exercise and the core area responsible for learning and memory functions. Studies have shown, too, that the hippocampus grows as the body becomes healthier (i.e., fitter).
By deduction, the increase in cardiovascular fitness can boost memory capability. You may even find that studying after exercising makes it easier to absorb information. Remember not to overdo the exercise since vigorous exercise can also increase stress levels resulting in reduced memory capacity, not to mention that you will be too tired to study anything.
Physical exercise is proven to improve your mental focus and stay on the task. Studies conducted on children and adults show that alternating between lessons with aerobics exercise aid in better executive control. By performing these exercises, you’ll get more adept at multitasking, remembering and manipulating information, and ignoring distractions, crucial in improved results.
Plus, it doesn’t even take strenuous exercise to reap the benefit of improved concentration! Just 10 minutes of playful activity, such as bouncing two balls simultaneously or shooting a few hoops, can increase your attention span afterward.
Exercise for a Better Mood
You can call it runner’s high or endorphin rush – no matter which, the elation feelings that come after a strenuous exercise session cannot be denied. Yes, you will feel tired, but it’s the good kind of tired like you can take on the world.
Doctors advise people with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues to engage in moderate-intensity exercise for precisely this reason. They can reap the benefits, or at the least, change their negative thoughts to more positive ones by turning their attention to any form of physical activity.
Thoreau and Nietzsche’s likes said that walking gives wings to their creativity by boosting their imagination. Walking seems to clear the head of the distractions that muddle it so that you’re better able to create works of art, whether it’s a painting or an article.
Older adults also benefit from moderate exercise, especially in slowing age-related cognitive decline. Just 30-40 minutes of aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, benefit mental health.
The bottom line: Get your move on and get your brain the exercise it needs!