Is there any effect of physical exercise on the brain?

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To many people when the word exercise is mentioned sounds very difficult, tiring and exhausting. While some want high end equipment to begin, others are plain lazy to give it a try. Everyone wants to be fit, toned and taut but not everyone is willing to make the necessary adjustments to achieve that reality. The results are not immediate and overnight but it’s worth the sweat and soreness.

The results and outcome of exercise is not on physical but also mental and internal. Apart from weight loss and an enviable physique, physical exercises are proven to have positive effects on the brain.

The brain consists of a part called the Prefrontal cortex situated behind the forehead – it is responsible for reasoning, decision making, thought processing and the like – and the Temporal Lobe situated at the base of the brain which stores the Hippocampus – which is responsible for our long term memory storage. Over the years as we age our brain cells weaken which cause the Hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex to weaken along with it. In order, to keep our brain live and healthy we have to nourish it with the correct nutrients and supplements by keeping it active. Neuroscience has proved that physical exercise does just this. Physical exercises change the brain’s anatomy, physiology and function.

We don’t have to register at a local gym or sign up for pocket emptying programmes to workout; rather we can do it free of charge in our own homes, within our comfort areas. Be it cardio, yoga, HIIT (High Intensive Interval Training) workouts, zumba, an extra walk around the block, running, jogging, Pilates or any other form. The only requirement necessary is that the workout should be around 20-30 minutes long and it should pump up our heart rate which will cause a rush of blood flow to the brain. More blood means more energy and exercise.

What are the major benefits of physical exercise on the brain

It has immediate effect our brains.

A single workout that we do increase the levels of neurotransmitters in our brains e.g.: dopamine – who’s decrease results in Parkinson’s disease, serotonin – which helps regulate mood, social behaviour, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function and adrenaline – which is a part of the body’s fight and flight response.

Our Hippocampus

which stores our long term memory – expands and is able to absorb and retain more information which in turn increases our memory power. Exercise produces new brain cells which increase the volume of the Hippocampus resulting in the improvement of long term memory.

Increases our level of concentration

It uplifts our mood and increases our level of concentration due to the addition of blood flow to the brain. This helps us to be motivated and encouraged for the time being of at least 2 hours after our workout. In order to continue this streak, we should continue our workout routine. This, in the long run, will make us a better person with a better outlook on life. It increases our reactions times and responds to situations and scenarios

Increases our Attention

It increases our attention function which depends on the prefrontal cortex which is the result of long term physical exercise.

The more we work out the bigger and stronger our prefrontal cortex and Hippocampus get.

These are important because they are the most vulnerable to neurodegenerative diseases and most susceptible to declension when aging. Physical exercise does not cure Dementia, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s; rather it increases the time span of succumbing to them.

So basically, we can consider our brains as the super power battery which helps us to breeze through life that is if we play our part in taking proper care of it.


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