The Brain-Boosting Benefits of Exercise: Why Prioritizing Movement is Vital for Optimal Health and Well-Being
One of the most important proteins that help with neuron development, survival, and synaptic plasticity is the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Exercise promotes the release of BDNF, which prunes neurons that are not needed and helps those that are required to survive and thrive. Moreover, cross-lateral movements, which involve crossing the midline of the body, stimulate the corpus callosum, the band of nerve fibres that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.
Exercise has numerous neurological benefits, including decreased stress and social anxiety, improved processing of emotions, prevention of neurological conditions, euphoria, increased energy, focus and attention, hinderance to the aging process, improved memory, improved blood circulation, and decreased brain fog. All these benefits are linked to neurogenesis, the creation of new neurons, and neuroplasticity, the alteration of existing synaptic connections.
Exercising enlarges the areas of the brain associated with memory, task management, coordination, planning, and inhibition. This means that the developed parts of the brain function faster and more efficiently, and oxygen flow to these parts of the brain is very helpful. The increase in brain size and function that results from regular exercise has been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved cognitive function, reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline and dementia, and improved mental health. Exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing a number of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, which can all have negative effects on brain health over time
Anxiety is harmful to the brain, but exercise can reduce it. High stress or anxiety, or even the very idea of stress, can affect brain health negatively. Exercise can help minimize stress or view stress positively, and even shift the role of exercise in one’s life. It is also important to take short breaks every 1-2 hours, whether walking, exercising, or socializing, as it stimulates the brain and returns it to the optimal stage of productivity.
Finally, recent research argues that the shape of a person’s brain can give indicators of their personality predispositions and the extent that they risk suffering from certain mental illnesses. The stretching and folding triggered by alterations in cortisol levels can indicate whether a person is more likely prone to neuroticism, extraversion, and more. The relationship between brain shape and personality predispositions or mental illnesses is a relatively new area of research, and the findings are still being explored. While certain brain shapes have been associated with certain personality traits or mental illnesses, it is important to note that these correlations are not deterministic, meaning that they do not necessarily mean that a person with a certain brain shape will definitely have a particular personality or mental health issue.
It is also important to note that the brain is a highly adaptable organ, and changes throughout a person’s life in response to various factors such as experiences, environment, and lifestyle. This means that even if a person’s brain shape may predispose them to certain traits or mental illnesses, there are ways to modify the brain through various interventions, such as therapy and lifestyle changes, which can potentially reduce the risk of developing such issues.
Exercise is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being, and it has numerous benefits for the brain. It promotes the release of BDNF, which helps with neuron development, survival, and synaptic plasticity. Exercise also has numerous neurological benefits, including increased energy, focus, and attention, improved memory, improved blood circulation, and decreased brain fog.
Now that you know the incredible benefits that exercise can have on your brain, it’s time to act! Don’t let another day go by without giving your brain the boost it needs to thrive. Whether it’s going for a walk, or taking a small movement break at work, prioritise exercise in your daily routine. Remember, every little bit counts, so even small changes can make a big difference. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get moving and give our brains the love and care they deserve! Come to class today and let’s work towards a healthier, happier you!