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How Physical Activity Leads to Better Brain Function

By Sabine Dorothy Docteur

The positive effects of exercise range from weight loss, better cardiovascular health, and improved mental well-being. Although, we do not focus on it often, physical fitness can significantly contribute to increased mental function. When we get to moving, our blood flow is enriched, and all parts of our bodies benefit positively. The mental capacity and fitness that results from exercise provides clarity and improvements with performing cognitive tasks. Physical activity also helps to enhance our brain fitness in various other ways.

Improves Cognitive Ability

Studies have shown that physical activity decreases the risk of dementia. The positive effects do not just work on with those with risk factors. Individuals who are young and considered to be in good health also benefit from physical activity. Because exercise increases the thickness of the brain's cerebral cortex and improves the white matter, there is added ability to make connections and enrich nerve cells. The brain ends up having better capabilities to adapt and this boosts memory. Light intensity physical activity has been shown to increase the total brain volume and the blood flow increases brain functioning.

Ever felt refreshed and ready to tackle the day after exercising? That is because of the effects of increased blood flow to the brain. I know that I have a greater motivation to complete my daily to-do list after exercising. Many individuals who are keen on waking up early to go for a jog or to the gym attribute this routine to being better prepared to launch their day energetically. It is as if there is a left over physical boost for other undertakings once the physical activity is done.

Lowers Stress Hormones

Aerobic exercising affects the brain positively by reducing the release of the body's stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. While reducing the negatives, the exercise simultaneously increases the release of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones in our bodies that give us natural mood boosting. They are responsible for the elevated feelings that runners get when they are in the middle of a run. Studies have shown that exercise increases dopamine levels in your brain, which leads to a decrease in stress levels and even depression.

As you keep your body moving, the mind remains stimulated. When the mind keeps working, its sharpness builds protective measures against brain disorders with aging. The bottom line is that keeping the feet moving helps to improve your heart and brain health. For optimum wellness of your body and mind, be consistent in your daily physical activity.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell, N.J.

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