Exercise for a Healthy, Active Brain

Physical activity has immediate as well as long lasting and protective benefits for the brain. Exercise is the most trans-formative thing we can do for the brain. And it’s free! Here are few points on how exercise is connected with brain function.

Brain Changing Effects of Exercise

The two main areas of the brain that exercise effects are the Frontal Lobe and the Hippocampus. The Frontal Lobe is located just behind the forehead and is critical for decision making, focus, attention and personality. Deep inside the brain is the Hippocampus which is where new long term memories are formed.

When you do not exercise the brain is affected severely. As you grow older, there will be a reduction in the volume of the brain. This shrinkage eventually leads to mental decline and increases the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Why is exercise good for the brain?

Exercise has protective effects on the brain. Think of your brain as a muscle. The more you work out the larger your hippocampus and Frontal Lobe gets. These effects are long lasting because exercise changes the brain’s anatomy and function leading to formation of new brain cells which eventually increases its volume.

Why is this important? Because the hippocampus and Frontal Lobe are more susceptible to brain disease due to old age. Therefore in cases of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, it takes longer for the disease to manifest because of a stronger and bigger hippocampus and Frontal Lobe.

Apart from these brain changing effects, exercise instantly increases levels of chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. These chemicals enhances attention span and mood. Exercise also improves blood circulation in the brain by formation of new blood vessels.

How much exercise is enough?

Exercising for at least 5 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes can improve memory function and maintain brain health.  Start exercising today and reap the benefits it offers for a better physical and mental health.

So what are you waiting for? Exercise for a healthy, active brain function.

MBBS, MPH
Physician, Public Health Specialist

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