All of us know the many physical benefits of exercise, such as weight control, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes, and increased energy, but we may not always know what the psychological benefits of exercise are.
According to the author of The First 20 Minutes, by Gretchen Reynolds, you don’t need to be a hardcore athlete to capitalize on the brain-boosting benefits. “The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits,” she says. “You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk; all those things come in during the first 20 minutes of being active.”
Below are the reasons why we should all try to introduce and incorporate some physical activity into our daily routine.
With continued exercise:
Your mood will improve
Exercise is a scientifically proven mood booster, decreasing symptoms of both depression and anxiety. Physical activity kicks up endorphin levels, the body’s famous ‘feel good’ chemical produced by the brain and spinal cord that produces feelings of happiness and euphoria.
We may not feel like exercising when we’re stressed, but a study published by the American Psychological Association in 2011 suggests that is exactly the best time to exercise.
Successive studies have established the link between exercise and mood and it is now thought that is usually within five minutes after moderate exercise, you get a mood-enhancement effect so much so that exercise is often recommended for psychotherapy clients, particularly for those who are anxious or depressed.
You’ll feel more alert
According to neuroscientist Judy Cameron, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, exercise increases blood flow, which benefits the brain and almost immediately, brain cells will function at a higher level, which will make you feel more focused and alert.
You might improve your memory
The hippocampus is a part of the brain that’s involved in learning and memory, as well as the creation of new brain cells and when we exercise, our heart pumps more oxygen to yur brain, which, in turn, supports the creation of new brain cells. Even when we stop exercising, those new brain cells survive, whereas many other changes in the brain during exercise eventually return to their normal state should you become less active.
To demonstrate, two groups of young men to take a memory quiz. Afterward, half were asked to cycle for 30 minutes, while the other relaxed. When both groups took the memory test again, those who had exercised performed significantly better than they did on the original test, while those who were sedentary saw no change.
You’ll feel less anxious
Maintaining a regular exercise routine is particularly important if you struggle with anxiety. A study published in The International Journal of Psychiatry Medicine found that it can help people with anxiety disorders maintain a sense of calm and reduce anxiety sensitivity.
Increasing your heart rate can reverse stress-induced brain damage by stimulating the production of neurohormones, which not only improve cognition and mood but improve thinking clouded by stressful events. Exercise also forces the body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems to communicate with one another, improving the body’s overall ability to respond to stress.
You’ll sleep better
Better sleep If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, exercise can help. Physical activity increases body temperature, which can have calming effects on the mind, leading to a better night’s sleep. Exercise also helps regulate your circadian rhythm, our bodies’ built-in alarm clock that controls when we feel tired and when we feel alert. Although improved sleep is a psychological benefit of exercise, sleep experts recommend not exercising close to bedtime.
You’ll be more creative
A study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that exercise could also boost creativity for a short period following a workout. It seems that the best time to tackle a particularly creative task might be during the two-hour window following an intense workout, the study suggests.
Sources: https://www.waldenu.edu https://www.mydomaine.com