5 Physical Exercises To Boost Your Brain Health
We are well aware of the physical health benefits of regular exercise- it maintains a healthy weight, prevents non-communicable diseases like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity; strengthens bones and muscles; increases stamina and makes our body agile.
But, did you know how physical exercise impacts your brain health? Feeling relaxed, positive and happier after your workout session is the result of chemical and functional changes that happen in your brain. Several scientific studies have proven that regular exercise improves mental wellness, focus, memory, creativity, and reasoning ability. It boosts release of happy hormones like endorphins and dopamine in your brain. It also prevents cognitive decline associated with ageing.
So, Dr. YOU brings you these 5 types of physical exercises that benefit both your body and mind!
1. Aerobic exercise — Aerobic exercises like brisk walking, running, jogging, jumping, cycling, and swimming work on cardiovascular conditioning, which strengthens the heart muscles and improves blood circulation. This ensures a good supply of oxygen to the brain tissues. Regular aerobic exercise improves creative thinking, memory, learning, and comprehension.
2. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) — It’s a form of cardiovascular training that involves alternating periods of highly intense activity (anaerobic exercise) and recovery time (could be rest or less intense aerobic activity). HIIT has been scientifically proven to boost brain plasticity, which leads to the formation of new brain cells and improved functions like learning and memory. It also stimulates the release of endorphins (feel-good chemicals produced by brain) which help build self-confidence and motivation to acquire new skills.
3. Resistance training — Resistance training involves using either your own body weight — exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, planks etc.) or using equipment — dumbbells, barbells, and resistance bands to apply a resistance force, so that your body muscles work to overcome it. A long term study found the positive impact on cognitive abilities like memory, learning, and comprehension as a result of protection from neurodegeneration in specific region of brain called hippocampus (associated with learning, and memory).
4. Yoga — Yoga is an ancient practice that couples physical postures with breathing techniques. It involves stretches, bends, and twists to work on different muscles of the body. It is touted as one the best activities for mental health. Yoga requires you to breathe deeply and gently, which gradually induces a state of tranquility in your mind. It also improves control and coordination of the body’s muscles by your brain. Just like any other exercise form, it improves mental functions like memory, learning, and focus.
5. Freestyle training — It involves a combination of different exercises that work on varied aspects of fitness like cardio, flexibility, and strength. This can include HIIT, hip-hop dancing, Zumba, skateboarding, treadmill running, and sometimes strength training too. It is usually done in groups, which engages your mind better and challenges your brain to be creative.
Remember, the only person who can keep YOU the healthiest is YOU!
DISCLAIMER: Dr. YOU aims to bring you the latest evidence-based science, and our content is for informational purposes only. The content is not medical advice or guarantee of an outcome. You should always consult a doctor or qualified healthcare professional if you need further clarification and before making any changes to your treatment plans and lifestyle, or that of others.
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