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Brain And Exercise: 9 Ways In Which Exercise Benefits Our Brain

Many people out there exercise only for a healthy body but, little do they know that the benefits of exercise are not only limited to better physical health but also mental health. According to a study, exercise is very effective in reducing the signs of major depressions due to its positive effect on the body and also, recognised as a major antidepressant that delays mortality. [1]

Exercise helps to regulate the essential hormones in the brain which contribute to improved memory and concentration, improved cognitive function, better sleep and ultimately, improvement in the overall health of the brain. Also, unlike other body parts, the brain does not have the actual muscles but still, it requires exercise to continue its functions. Thus, it would not be wrong to say that exercise is a form of medicine for many mental health problems.

Here are some of the ways which will explain how exercise affects our brain.

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1. Improves mood

According to a study, exercise causes immediate changes in the level of hormones like dopamine and serotonin which are responsible for improving the mood and giving a feeling of happiness to the person.

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2. Improves sleep

According to a study, 150 minutes of weekly exercise helps a person to get better sleep by reducing their stress and anxiety levels. Therefore, people with insomnia are often suggested to introduce exercise in their life to improve the quality of their sleep.

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3. Reduces stress and anxiety

Exercise helps to regulate a special type of hormone called endocannabinoids which help to reduce anxiety and stress and induce a ‘don't worry, be happy' kind of feeling in a person. Another study also says that couples who exercise together stay more happy and content.

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4. Protects against degenerative diseases

According to a study, exercising daily reduces the risk of degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's by improving the blood flow in the brain, which further helps the brain to function and grow well.

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5. Improves cognition

According to a study, a physical workout is a strong gene modulator which causes functional and structural brain changes for the better cognitive function and well being of a person.

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6. Boosts memory

According to a study, exercise helps to stimulate the vestibular system that helps to bring changes in the areas of the brain like the hippocampus and parietal cortex which are involved in the memory.

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7. Improves concentration

According to a trial-based study conducted on people between the age group 18-25, increased fitness is linked to more efficiency, rapid responding behaviour and response accuracy of a person which contribute to an improved focus and concentration in people.

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8. Increases the size of the hippocampus

Ageing reduces the size of hippocampus and causes impaired memory and dementia. According to a study, the volumes of hippocampal and medial temporal lobes are larger in adults who are fit and involved in physical activity like aerobic exercise training.

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9. Enhances creativity

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, exercises like aerobic dance or aerobic workout may sometimes help to enhance creative thinking by favouring the positive moods in people. However, the evidence is not indefinite.

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Final Note

Exercises are great for improvising our physical health but also works as a wonder for the development of our brain. As we know that the brain controls the functions of all body parts, thus keeping the brain healthy by exercising should be a priority for every individual.

View Article References
  1. [1] Belvederi Murri, M., Ekkekakis, P., Magagnoli, M., Zampogna, D., Cattedra, S., Capobianco, L., ... & Amore, M. (2018). Physical exercise in major depression: reducing the mortality gap while improving clinical outcomes. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 762.
Story first published: Friday, January 10, 2020, 15:10 [IST]
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