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How Exercise Enhances the Brain

By Genevieve Cunningham

You already know that exercise is incredible for the body. It builds muscle and burns fat, making you look and feel fit and strong. But what you may be a little less aware of is just how good exercise is for the brain. Working out on a regular basis truly enhances the function and health of your brain as a whole. But, how? Take a look at how fitting exercise into your routine may boost the health of your brain for good.

So, What Happens?

When you exercise, the brain and body become more efficient at releasing certain chemicals and hormones. These chemicals are responsible for a wide range of functions, but for the brain, they are largely responsible for protecting and growing healthy brain cells and blood vessels. It has also been suggested that people who exercise have larger prefrontal cortices and medial temporal cortices than those who don’t take the time to move.

What Does This Mean?

All of that sounds great, right? But, what does it mean for our health and wellness? Because these particular cortices are responsible for functions such as memory and impulse control, these are two areas that fitness enthusiasts seem to have a leg up in. Their memory is sharper and their impulse control is stronger. Along with that, the proper release of hormones and chemicals leads to better sleep, more stable moods, and may even reduce stress and anxiety. The benefits for the brain simply can’t be beat, and those who get on the exercise bandwagon may find themselves never wanting to look back.

How Can I Get Moving?

Exercise, like anything else in life, is just a decision. You might be short on time or busy with other things, but we all make time for what we want to do. For starters, just make the decision to make exercise a part of your day. Second, start small! Don’t go run miles upon miles if you haven’t been regularly working out. Just go for a walk and build from there. Lastly, don’t beat yourself up when you miss a day or two. Just get back on the wagon as soon as you can. Be consistent and forgiving with yourself, and you can make this a habit to last a lifetime.

Exercise is great for the body, but it can do wonders for the brain as well. Don’t miss out on all of the benefits that working out has to offer. Get up, get moving, and watch your mental and physical health soar in no time.

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