On top of feeling confident in your own skin, gaining strength and flexibility, and improving the overall quality of your life, exercise has benefits for your brain as well.
In recent years, the plasticity of our brains has become more and more evident and most of us now think of our brains as the muscles they are. We can change the chemistry of our brain and exercising is one way to improve its function.
Here, we’re talking about how exercise helps your memory and improves your ability to focus. In a world where rates of dementia are growing and overcoming distractedness is a daily struggle, exercising regularly is a game-changer.
How Exercise Helps Your Memory
Regular exercise improves your memory and thinking skills in two ways.
In a direct sense, exercise increases your insulin resistance, reduces inflammation, and stimulates the release of growth hormones. That means your brain cells become healthier, new blood vessels in your brain continue to grow, and an abundance of new brain cells flourish and expand.
Exercise helps your brain in an indirect way too, by improving your mood and sleep while also easing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The way you think and remember is severely impacted by these indirect connections and since exercising can lead to improved mental health, your memory improves as well.
Additionally, a study by the University of British Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise seems to expand the size of your hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.
All in all, exercise can quite literally change your brain composition and improve your memory.
How Exercise Helps Your Focus
The fogginess in our brains can become a daily hurdle. On top of feeling forgetful, we might often notice how easily distracted we are with a deeper inability to focus. Again, exercising can help with that.
First of all, exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain which will improve focus. Dr. John Ratey suggests working out before doing focused work since exercise will leave you feeling more focused for two to three hours afterward.
You’ll also have more energy after you exercise as well as an improved mood and better impulse control. That’s because exercise releases endorphins, a pleasure hormone, so you won’t be as triggered by distractions since your pleasure-seeking impulse will be satisfied.
Exercising in a Distracted World
We’re human - so there’s no point in getting frustrated when you feel distracted or forgetful. There are plenty of other factors like sleep and diet that can affect your brain’s function as well. So, finding balance is key to feeling better in our ever-distracted world.
Give it a try! See what happens when you prioritize exercise. Are you able to work better and more efficiently? Can you resist that piece of cake during an office birthday party? Do you feel like your memory has improved? Are you spending less time on social media or watching YouTube videos?
There’s no day like today to start a healthy exercise regimen for more brainpower. Download the OOMPH app today for a 7-day free trial!