More than Calories: How Exercise Can Boost Brain Function Too!

How often have you put off exercise for a rainy day, appreciating it only for its calorie-burning benefits and effects on your metabolism? Many folks tend to absolutely dread their workouts, checking the clock frequently for the moment it’s finally okay to give it a rest.

It’s Time for a Mindset Reboot

Truth be told, any given workout does so much more than just scorch calories. Exercise is a total body game-changer, paving the way for better health in all areas of your life: weight-loss, stress management, endurance, creativity, balance and coordination, and more.

The next time you forego a workout because it doesn’t seem worth it, ask yourself, “How can exercise benefit me today, tomorrow, and with what I’m trying to accomplish for my goals?” You might just find the mental motivation you need to get up and get moving.

Exercise and Your Brain

Did you know that exercise can alter your brain’s neuron pathways and release key hormones to benefit your mental health? Your brain plays a significant role in weight-loss — perhaps more than you might think. Check out these mental health benefits to exercise:

It Stimulates Brain Growth

As you get older, you don’t generate as many new brain cells and tissue actually starts to shrink. Regular exercise, however, can stimulate brain growth with increased blood and oxygen flow.

It Boosts Cognitive Abilities

Regular movement helps you focus on complex tasks, think critically and abstractly, organize and plan. It also helps your working memory and fights against degenerative mental diseases.

It Releases Valuable Hormones

Exercise releases a plethora of helpful hormones that give your brain a rich, nourishing environment for the growth of new brain cells. One such hormone is Brain-derived Neuropathic Factor (BDNF), which you can think of as “fertilizer” for your brain.

It Combats Stress Face-to-Face

Stress on the mind and body releases the powerful hormone cortisol, which not only affects your thinking, but also affects your metabolism, appetite and hormone balance. Exercise actually slows down the release of cortisol and lowers your levels.

It Puts You in a Better Mood

There’s a reason you feel better after exercise, and it’s not just because your muscles got an energizing workout. Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins to fight depression and anxiety and make you feel like you’ve just won the lottery (okay, to an extent).

Do Your Brain a Favor

The next time you’re feeling stressed, sad or anxious, or when you’re feeling like you’re caught in a mental rut, why not lace up your sneakers and get moving? You’ll not only make a dent with your weight and health goals, but you’ll give your brain a boost, too.

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