We know that working out can improve our weight management, reduce our health risks, and strengthen our bones and muscles, but we tend to forget the important mental benefits of devoting time to exercise.
“Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health, and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and even add years to your life. But that’s not what motivates most people to stay active,” says the HelpGuide.Org.
The motivation lies in the connection between good physical and mental health.
“People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives,” continues HelpGuide.Org.
Working Out Mental Gains Can be Felt Immediately
In other words, working out is all about the mental gains and they can be immediate according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Some benefits of physical activity on brain health happen right after a session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity,” says the CDC.
The CDC says the immediate benefits from working out include:
- Improved thinking or cognition for children 6 to 13 years of age
- Reduced short-term feelings of anxiety for adults
“Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgement skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce the risk of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better,” says the CDC.
Brian Health and Physical Activity
The U.S. government’s “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd Edition)” found the following correlation between brain health and physical activity:
- Cognition: Children ages 6 to 13 improved performance on academic achievement tests, executive function, processing speed and memory. Adults reduced risk of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and adults older than age 50 improved executive function, attention, memory, crystalized intelligence and processing speed.
- Quality of Life: Adults improved quality of life.
- Depressed Mood and Depression: Children ages 6-17 and adults reduced risk of depression and reduced risk of depressed mood.
- Anxiety: Adults reduced short-term feelings of anxiety and reduced long-term feelings and signs of anxiety for people with and without anxiety disorders.
- Sleep: Adults increased sleep efficiency, sleep quality, deep sleep; and reduced daytime sleepiness, and frequency of use of medication to aid sleep.
Want to Build a Better Brain? Exercise!
The Mayo Clinic says if you want to build a better brain, then you should exercise!
“The benefits of your exercise program might just be in your head,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Turns out that all the work you do to build a better bicep helps your brain, too.”
The Mayo Clinic staff says the payoff to exercising includes:
- Feel Better: Regular working out can help people control their stress and stabilize their emotions.
- Enhance Learning: When teachers added exercise to math routines, students who exercised learned at a faster pace than those students who did not exercise.
- Sharpen Memory: One study showed that people with high levels of fitness as young adults tested 25 years later with better memory, motor skills, and executive function.
- Improve Vision: Research has shown that your visual system becomes more sensitive during exercise and may actually enhance visual learning.
The Mayo Clinic staff said the good news is that you do not need to be a world-class athlete to glean brain benefits from working out as even walking briskly 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week can contribute to brain improvements.
5 Clear Mental Benefits to Working Out
Dr. Shawna Charles, PhD in Psychology, and fitness gym operator, tells clients here are five clear mental benefits to work out:
- Activate Your Endorphins: Dr. Charles says, “Physical activity kicks up the endorphin levels, the body’s famous “feel good” chemical produced by the brain and spinal cord that produces feelings of happiness and euphoria”.
- Stimulate Your Neurohormones: Dr. Charles says, “Increasing your heart rate can actually reverse stress-induced brain damage by stimulating the production of neurohormones like norepinephrine, which not only improve cognition and mood but improve thinking clouded by stressful events”.
- Boost Your Self-Esteem: The achievements from physical activity such as weight loss and increasing muscle tone can boost your self-esteem and the confidence it instills.
- Sleep Like a Baby: Dr. Charles says, “Physical activity increases your body temperature which can have a calming effect on the mind, leading to less sheep counting and more shuteye”.
- Build Brain Cells: Dr. Charles says, “Studies on mice and humans indicate that cardiovascular exercise creates new brain cells – a process called neurogenesis – and improves overall brain performance”.
The American Psychological Association says that “if getting started with an exercise routine sounds overwhelming, keep in mind that starting anywhere is better than not starting at all.”
Best of all, your mind will thank you!
Contact Exer-Tech today in Southeast Texas for commercial-grade fitness equipment that can help both your physical and mental well-being.