Our brain makes us what we are. The lobes of brain work differently for different mental activities. But like all other parts of our body, the brain also undergoes steps of growth and development followed by ageing. But our activities and learning help in bringing several necessary changes in our brain. So a healthy and fit brain can do miracles. Even it can increase the capacities of our brain. It can turn a normal child to a genius one.
We are not genetically programmed to live in a state of idleness and lethargy. And if we do, our brain pays a high price, both in the short and long term.Our brain is just like our muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes. That’s why exercise is very important for brain as it is for body.
There are lots of reasons why it’s essential to exercise, and most of us are familiar with the menu of options and how each can shape and benefit our body. But there are numerous ways in which exercise makes us smart too. You may not realise, that with every step you take, every mile you pedal or every lap you swim around the pool, you’re enhancing fitness of your brain irrespective of your age and sex.
As your heart rate increases during exercise, blood flow to the brain increases. As blood flow increases, your brain is exposed to more oxygen and nutrients. Exercise also induces the release of beneficial chemicals in the brain. They keep brain cells (neurons) healthy, and promote the growth of new neurons.
How exercise helps in several functions of our brain
Attention & Concentration
Physical activity activates different parts of the brain which is responsible for increasing alertness, concentration, and energy. Several studies in children have shown that, regular aerobic exercise increases attention span in hyperactive children. (1)
Planning and programming (executive function)
Doing regular exercise improves the multitasking activities of our brain. It further helps us in better planning and programming.
Young men and children who were continuing their aerobic practice in their high-school years have increased their IQ and cognitive performance on tests. Several researches have revealed that exercise increases the volume of hippocampus (the memory area). (2)
Sleep is a very important function for overall wellness of our brain. Exercise improves sleep quality. So if you are having less sleep, run a bit. (3)
Exercise drops stress hormones and increases the happy hormones. We experience a ‘feel-good’ sensation immediately after exercise. It’s due to phenomenon known as the ‘runner’s high.’ Exercise is a magical solution to stress, anxiety and depression. (4)
Our brain shrinks as we age. This shrinking causes several degenerative diseases as we grow old. But exercise delays the progressive brain inflammation and atrophy. (5)
Facilitates healing after injury
Exercise upregulates neurotrophins. These support the survival and differentiation of neurons in the developing brain. It helps in healing injured parts of brain.
Decreases ‘brain fog’
Brain fog, also known as ‘clouding of consciousness’ is when people experience a degree of cognitive impairment. Symptoms may include poor focus, lack of concentration, and difficulty remembering things. Physical activity decreases it.
Specific exercise for different functions of brain
Each exercise activates a different part of the body and brain, so there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ type of activity or exercise plan. So we must do a plan to cover different types of exercise in our schedule.
So let’s do exercise every day for better abilities of our brain irrespective of age. Children need it more than adults. It’s the master key for fitness of our mighty brain.
Please read and share
-can exercise help brain fog: yes
-can exercise heal brain damage: it helps in quick healing
–does exercise improve brain power: yes, definitely
#exercise brain health #exercise brain chemicals #exercise brain benefits #exercise brain fog #exercise brain inflammation #exercise brain activity #exercise brain aging #exercise brain atrophy
1: Berwid OG, Halperin JM. Emerging support for a role of exercise in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder intervention planning. Current psychiatry reports. 2012 Oct 1;14(5):543-51.
2: Chaddock L, Erickson KI, Prakash RS, Kim JS, Voss MW, VanPatter M, Pontifex MB, Raine LB, Konkel A, Hillman CH, Cohen NJ. A neuroimaging investigation of the association between aerobic fitness, hippocampal volume, and memory performance in preadolescent children. Brain research. 2010 Oct 28;1358:172-83.
3:Yang PY, Ho KH, Chen HC, Chien MY. Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: a systematic review. Journal of physiotherapy. 2012 Sep 1;58(3):157-63.
4: Paolucci EM, Loukov D, Bowdish DM, Heisz JJ. Exercise reduces depression and inflammation but intensity matters. Biological psychology. 2018 Mar 1;133:79-84.
5: Siette J, Westbrook RF, Cotman C, Sidhu K, Zhu W, Sachdev P, Valenzuela MJ. Age-specific effects of voluntary exercise on memory and the older brain. Biological psychiatry. 2013 Mar 1;73(5):435-42.