Why is exercise good for the brain?
Exercise is more than just a way to hone your physique; regular exercise helps to improve memory capacity and thinking skills, as well as reducing the odds of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
The link between exercise and its effects on the brain are undeniable; experts have found that increasing the amount of exercise we do can develop new brain cells – this is known as ‘neurogenesis’. By exercising both brain and body, you can push yourself harder and to help achieve your weight loss goals.
Here are our top four reasons why physical exercise can improve your brain health.
Ever gone for a light jog and come back feeling refreshed and revitalised? This is the work of norepinephrine, a chemical that reduces stress.
Those who struggle with emotional eating from stress, anxiety or depression might find it difficult to get into a healthy eating routine and, in turn, struggle to stay motivated to work out. If you want to improve your brain health and take control of your eating habits, try to fit in short, low impact exercises each day to get back on track.
2. Mood booster
For some, the kitchen cupboard is the answer to everything, but did you know that exercise can actually make you feel happier and more relaxed?
This is because exercising is one of the few natural practices that releases endorphins: the chemical that contributes to feelings of euphoria. The happier you feel, the more likely you are to stay motivated to exercise, and the faster you will see results!
3. Addiction crusher
It should come as no surprise that those who start their day with a bout of exercise make healthier choices. This isn’t necessarily because they are fitter than other people, it is because exercise produces dopamine in the brain, a chemical that offers feelings of reward.
When you are trying to lose weight, reward signals are essential reference points; they are a personal reminder that your efforts are paying off and, as a result, you are more likely to stay motivated to lose weight and exercise more.
4. Greater confidence
Many health regimes begin as a response to poor self-image. Whether it is a holiday photo that didn’t do you justice, or you’re unsatisfied with how your clothes fit, the first thing you need to do is rebuild your confidence. This is where exercise can help.
Exercise is fantastic for improving self-image, not only because it keeps the weight off, but also because it improves your self-confidence. A study by the University of Minnesota found that exercise led to greater physical acceptance once individuals felt better inside, regardless of how much weight they had lost. More motivation to exercise could, therefore, make you feel that much happier in your own skin.