Exercise can help your brain slow down….Which is a really good thing!
The quality of blood flowing to and through the brain is affected by exercise. Is your head in a tizzy?? Exercise can actually slow down the speed with which neurons fire in the brain.
This is a good thing! We all need to slow down a bit. Most people reluctantly enjoyed the recent ‘snow holiday’ as we were forced to switch off and relax for a couple of days. Exercise can have a similarly calming effect. When we unplug devices, meditate or walk by the sea, our brain naturally produces good ingredients. Exercise similarly produces a fertile soil for the brain.
Benefits for the Brain
Exercise will stimulate your memory, situated in the hippocampus area. Your capacity to concentrate will improve. It will reduce your mental stress levels due to effective management of the stress hormone – cortisol. In the same way exercise helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, it also reduces the risk of any cognitive decline – such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Everybody talks about the physical benefits of exercise. The word cardiovascular is synonymous with fitness and heart health. Neurovascular is far less commonly used but is equal in importance when we consider exercise.
Neurovascular applies specifically to the blood flow in the brain. When we exercise we oxygenate the brain’s blood vessels with healthy red blood cells. With greater oxygen to the brain we are calmer, more alert, less impulsive and generally better decision makers. This is so valuable in the modern day pressures of work/life/family demands.
Toothpaste for ‘Brain Plaque’
When I wash my teeth in the mornings I put toothpaste on the brush and fire away. The brushing motion along with the toothpaste itself combats the buildup of plaque on our teeth. The brain produces plaque as we get older too. One of the best ways to replicate the toothpaste analogy for our brain is to exercise. The healthy blood flow derived from exercise can help combat the growth of brain plaque. One of the other most important ways to reduce growth of plaque in the brain is to be sociable! And laughter produces feel good hormones too!
So, get out and meet some new people, or connect with an old friend! Go for a walk and have some fun. You are doing yourself and your brain a big favour.