As we know, exercise can affect on our bodies in amazing ways. Stronger muscles, faster times, tighter abs, and easier movements are just a few of the benefits of working out on the regular.
But what we may not know is that exercise plays a critical role in our mental health and brain functionality. Each spin class, mountain climbed, and session in the weight room can have massive effects on the way we think.
Think about it – after a good sweat, we tend to think more clearly, breathe a little more easily, and have more energy.
So why is this?
We here at Zephyr know the important role exercise plays in every aspect of life. That’s why we want to give not only the physical but also the mental and spiritual benefits of working out.
Read below to learn about three benefits of exercise that affect your brain.
1. Mood Boost and Mental Health
Inside your brain, there are billions of neurons that give the rest of your body orders and instructions –called neurotransmitters. These signals regulate everything from your mood and sleep, to your focus and appetite.
Studies show that regular exercise increases two neurotransmitters in particular that directly affect your mood. By exercising, you increase these transmitters and strengthen your mind’s ability to respond to certain stressors. This is often referred to as “mental fitness.”
2. Stress Reduction
Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed? You might want to step up your exercise routine. Regular exercise can control the stress hormone referred to as cortisol.
When you are stressed out, your body signals a “flight or fight” response and releases cortisol into your system. This is good in certain situations that require quick, immediate action. What you don’t want is a constant feeling of anxiety. This unwanted stress can be lessened by breaking a sweat and moving your body on a regular basis.
3. Improved Thinking
When you exercise, you increase the amount of blood flow in your body. More blood means more oxygen and more energy, which makes our brains perform better.
Another reason our mental capacity improves during exercise has to do with a part of brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for our learning ability and our memory. Research shows that this portion of the brain is highly active during physical activity. When activity in this region increases, our cognitive function improves tremendously.
Exercising not only does your body good, but also benefits your mental health as well. Now, there’s yet another reason to stay physically active and keep on moving!