Our thanks to Nicci Kobritz for contributing this article.
Exercise may be more important than you think. Aside from benefiting your physical health, exercise—research shows—packs numerous cognitive benefits. Below, we’re covering the best benefits prolonged exercise has on your brain.
#1: Exercise Improves Executive Functions
Your brain’s executive functions are higher-level thinking skills. These skills include task switching, inhibitory control, goal management and attention. An exercise review supports the positive effects exercise seems to play on these functions—helping healthy individuals manage executive tasks with ease.
#2: It Lifts Depression
Other research suggests that burning away as little as 350 calories, three times per week, can reduce depression symptoms as effectively as antidepressants. Exercise appears to stimulate neuron growth, assisting brain regions hindered by depression.
#3: It Boosts Learning Capabilities
Prolonged exercise increases the brain’s ability to learn. In fact, it boosts growth factor chemicals, which establish new brain connections needed to learn. Whether it’s playing tennis, dance skills or coordinating a dexterous activity, the connections made can be applied elsewhere.
#4: It Improves Body Image
Exercise is an astounding tool for building self-esteem. You needn’t radically change your body’s shape to get more confidence. Simply seeing fitness improvements, like lifting more weight or running faster, can greatly improve your body image and self-esteem.
#5: It Enhances Willpower
A 2013 British Journal of Sports Medicine meta-analysis examined several groups of people. It found that even short bouts of exercise boosts willpower. While willpower gets a lot of coverage in the media, exercise isn’t mentioned nearly enough.
Make sure you’re exercising regularly, and supplement your efforts with a healthy diet. By keeping a tight schedule, you’ll benefit your brain—as well as the mind within it.
Nicci Kobritz is a geriatric specialist and nurse practitioner. She has more than 3 decades in the home health care business. Nicci is President of Youthful Aging Home Health and Center for Brain Health. Contact Nicci at 941-925-9532 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website – www.youthfulaging.net