Physical exercise does not only affect your body, the way you look and how fit you feel, but it also has a high impact on your brain health. If you want to make the most out of your grey matter and think faster, remember more, and make it easier for yourself to focus, you should definitely give your brain regular workouts. Just like your body, your brain needs to exercise to retain its function.
Aerobic exercises have an especially positive effect on brain health. Through exercise that raises the heart rate, your brain is provided with more oxygen-rich blood. According to a study by the University of British Columbia, aerobic exercise on a regular basis increases the cell growth in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.
Another benefit of exercise is that you feel good and more alert when your body is flushed with feel-good hormones, which also drops stress hormones and has an antidepressant effect. Moreover, exercise stimulates the growth of new connections between your brain cells.
However, taking care of your brain health doesn’t need to be a time-consuming chore. Even exercising for twenty minutes helps your brain with information processing and memory functions. Optimally you should find your balance between the two extremes of doing too little or too much: 20-60 minute aerobic workouts are perfect to benefit learning and memory functions in your brain. You could do brisk walking five days per week, and use the other two days to rest your body, because having a rest is also important for your body.
In addition to the right food, exercising helps you to sleep better too, which is also a crucial thing for a healthy brain. Your body needs at least seven hours of quality sleep, during which it can repair damaged cells, grow new ones, clear your brain from toxins and organise your memory. So make sure you get enough sleep and set yourself a fixed “bed-time” that you stick to every evening.
We’ve got six useful tips for you if you want to improve your brain health:
- Use aerobic exercise as a balance between body and brain. And help damaged brain cells to get repaired even faster!
- Start your day with a little morning workout. Exercise will improve your brain activity and better prepare you for mental stress. It will be easier for you to handle complex situations and deal with new information throughout the day.
- Don’t stick to the same exercise too long, as you may get bored over time. Give your workout variety by looking for other activities that combine coordination along with cardio. What about a dance class for example?
- If you like to go to the gym, try circuit workouts that increase your heart rate but also constantly switch your attention.
- Try too reboot with a skipping rope or do jumping jacks if you feel mentally exhausted. It helps to freshen up fast!
- Generally anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain!