Great shape? Check. Increased energy? Check. Enhanced confidence? Check! We all know that working out ticks all the healthy boxes, but did you know that regular exercise boosts your brain power, too?
1 Builds up your mental muscle
Everyone knows that working up a sweat can help trim those extra inches, but regular exercise will also enhance your focus, increase your productiveness, boost your energy, and give you a feeling you are on top of the world. Even one 30-minute training session pumps extra blood to your brain, delivering the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at its best. In addition, working out floods the brain with chemicals that improve functions such as memory, problem solving, and decision-making.
2 Extends mental endurance
When you go for a long run or ride, you’re training your mind as well as your body. It’s a mental challenge as well as a physical one; in terms of fighting the urge to call it a day and do something else. Based on a review from the Journal of Applied Physiology, the ability to overcome that urge is crucial to multitasking on the job and sticking with your long-term plans and goals to the very end.
3 Increases your productivity
When you in the middle of pressing deadlines, it’s not always easy to turn off your computer and go out. Well, it seems you should! We are 23% more productive on days we exercise in comparison with days we don’t. Working out increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain, increasing your energy levels, combating fatigue and making you more focused and attentive in the workplace.
4 Sharpens your focus
This is really good news! Exercising sharpens your focus significantly. This works on a cellular level through neuroplasticity; the brain’s capacity to enhance oxygen-rich blood flow. This, in turn, increases your level of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, with thought-facilitating and mood-stabilizing properties, and consequently improves the way you think, because it connects brain cells in new and challenging ways.
5 Jogs your memory
What did you do yesterday? Did you remember what you had to buy in the store? If you are forgetful, there’s no better way to kick start your memory than with exercise! Working out increases your BDNF levels (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which is crucial in supporting the health of current brain cells and stimulating the creation of new ones. Many studies have proven an increase of these cells in the Hippocampus – your brain’s memory and learning center – when doing regular aerobic exercise for at least six months. So go out for a run to jog your memory!
6 Enhances your mood
Need a lunchtime pick-me-up? Having a lunch break sweat session might be the best thing you can do to combat the afternoon slump. Working out releases ‘happy endorphins’ into your blood. These endorphins fight feelings of stress and discomfort and are even connected to feelings of euphoria. All you need to do is to exercise moderately for 20-30 minutes daily, this will boost those endorphin levels and give you that feel-good factor.
7 Improves your sleep
People call it beauty sleep for a reason, but it’s not just your looks that will benefit from a good night’s rest. It’s crucial for brain function to get those precious eight hours of quality sleep every night. Working out improves the quality of shut-eye as well as trims those inches! Remember, just 20-30 minutes of daily exercise will leave you feeling energized, preventing the urge for a siesta and have you snoozing, rather than loosing, at bedtime.