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5 positive effects exercise has on the brain

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27 Oct 2022, 21:24 GMT+10

Basically, we are all familiar with the benefits that exercising provides to our body and overall health. But what about our brain and mind? Is it possible that exercising can affect our brain as well it affects our muscles, lungs, heart, and bones? Absolutely! Today Better Weigh Medical will dedicate a post to the subject of the positive effect that physical activity has on our brains.

1. Supplying the brain with sufficient oxygen

In the past, experts used to stand that oxygen saturates blood, while today`s research explains that oxygen levels in our bodies depend on different factors, among others, physical activity. Exercise stimulates the heart and lungs to work harder which drives more oxygen to the blood. Blood enriched with oxygen supplies the brain and promote oxygenation and brain angiogenesis. Oxygenation is a term that refers to an increased concentration of oxygen in tissues. Angiogenesis is the process of the formation of new blood vessels. Additionally, exercise improves blood flow in the cerebral system which is the part of the brain responsible for the coordination and various functions and processes of our body. Higher levels of oxygen in brain cells support and promote cognitive abilities and other functions of the prefrontal cortex. By supplementing the prefrontal cortex with oxygen-rich blood cells, exercising positively affects human attention, memory and cognitive flexibility, and impulse/self-control.

Besides oxygen, with increased blood flow, red blood cells deliver various nutrients to the brain which supports brain health and its functions.

The brain is a complex organ that demands upstanding circulation for its complex and high metabolic processes. Exercise as an activity that boosts blood flow is extremely beneficial for brain wellness.

2. Neurotrophin production

Neurotrophins are the proteins that regulate the development, functions, and maintenance of the vertebrate nervous system and surviving of neurons. A neuron is a fundamental unit of the brain and nervous system. The vertebrate is the part of the nervous system that allows the organism to sense and react to information in the environment.

Additionally, neurotrophins are involved in performing daily activities and have an important role in protecting and recovering function in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injuries, and strokes.

Exercise increases the levels of neurotrophin maintaining and providing connections and pathways between neurons and brain parts. On account of all the above influences of increased neutrophils, experts find exercise as a great part of the treatment for preventing and reducing the progress of dementia and powerful action to improving cognition and maintaining a sharp mind.

3. Supports memory

Exercise increases brain-delivered neurotrophic factor (BDNF) know also as abrineurin. This protein is responsible for neural growth and survival, works as a neurotransmitter modulator, and assists in neural plasticity. Neural plasticity is a crucial factor in the human ability to learn and remember. It boosts synaptogenesis, the process of making new synapses, which mediate memory and learning aiding in information absorption and constituting long-term memories. This implies, that increase in BDNF directly impacts memory capacity, strength, and capability.

4. Stress reduction

Exercise is considered positive physical stress while for the brain it means quite the opposite, workout promotes relaxation. By reducing the levels of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, exercise improves tranquility. On the other hand, physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins, the hormone that reduces the feeling of pain, lowers stress, and improves mood and sense of well-being. People who practice running as a regular exercise routine often experience the 'runner's high' effect which is associated with the reduction of stress hormones and provides an antidepressive effect.

5. Mental Health

The ability to reduce the secretion of stress hormones and encourage the release of endorphins is the characteristic of exercise that experts find valuable in improving mental health. Experts find that the inhibition of cell proliferation (the process of cell growth and division in two daughter cells) might be one of the causes of depression, therefore as physical activity work in increasing neuron growth, it affects the brain like an antidepressant. Nowadays, experts advise exercise as an integral part of the treatment for depression and anxiety, sleep disorders, and various other mental conditions.

Additionally, exercise affects emotional processing, and productivity and increases focus.

Final Thoughts

As we can see, physical activity has a significant impact on our body and our mind as well. Exercise keeps our bodies healthy and improves our mental health. Recommended physical activity is 150 minus a week equals 30 minutes five times a week and by practicing this routine soon you will experience the beneficial properties of exercise. Besides the moderate training routine, you can practice regular energetic walking instead, and the results will also appear as a boost in brain performance and a lifted mood. Hopefully, with the above-listed advantages of exercise to the brain, we have motivated and encouraged you to choose your preferdable exercise routine and start working out today.

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