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How Exercise Affects your Brain

We all know exercising is good for the body. But did you know you might also get a brain boost when you don your sneakers and hit the gym?

Exercise affects the brain on multiple fronts. It increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the bodily release of a plethora of hormones, all of which participate in aiding and providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.

A healthy diet and good hydration also fuels the brain. A diet which emphasizes plant-based foods, whole grains, fish and healthy fats, such as olive oil are recommended. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and keep a check on the teas, coffees and fizzy drinks.

It is important that you try to get seven to eight consecutive hours of sleep per night. This gives your brain the time to consolidate and store your memories effectively.

Keep your brain mentally active by doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku, reading, playing cards or putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

Remain socially involved. This interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss.

▶️Tips for getting the most out of your exercise

In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.

🚴🏼‍♂️Aerobic exercise is great for body and brain: not only does it improve brain function, but it also acts as a “first aid kit” on damaged brain cells. Eg Running, Pilates, swimming, walking, HIIT class, cycling.

🌅Exercising in the morning before going to work not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also produces increases retention of new information, and better reaction to complex situations.

🥊When looking to change up your workouts, look for an activity that incorporates coordination along with cardiovascular exercise, such as a Pilates, Barre class, Boxer, Zumba dance class.

🏋🏻‍♂️If you like crunching time at the gym alone, opt for a circuit-type workout, which quickly spikes your heart rate, and also constantly redirects your attention.

🤸🏽Hitting a wall or mentally exhausted? Try rebooting with a few jumping jacks, quick feet, squat jumps or hopping as brain stimulation exercises.

🧘‍♂️Not forgetting the benefits of the slower paced exercises like yoga and tai chi. These help you relax and aid better sleep, give you more energy and brighter moods, help you manage stress and promotes better self care.

Whatever exercise you do; as an individual or team, low intensity or high intensity, socially or elite…. Just enjoy it, have fun, laugh and repeat!

Happy exercising, Happy brain