It’s often talked about how your brain is like a muscle, and like any other muscle in the body, you use it or lose it. That’s true. You have to “exercise” your brain through different types of stimulation that will keep your brain mentally active and healthy. It’s just like working out in a gym. This article isn’t about those mental exercises, though. We’re talking about really working out – how partaking in aerobic activities, like going to the gym, can actually have great positive impacts for your brain.
Exercise can really do a lot for your brain. For one, it increases your heart rate, which in turn supplies much more oxygen to the brain. Exercise is also known to cause the body to release a variety of hormones, all having many beneficial impacts on the brain and body – a few of which are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The combination of hormones released while working out promotes focus, a general better feeling, and a release of stress. And when we exercise regularly, the cocktail of the exercise hormones released actually encourages our brains to grow.
A study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management reported almost a 25% increase in productivity on days where study participants (employees) spent at least 30 minutes in the gym. These same people also performed quicker and more accurately on a cognitive exercise after working out than they did before. Another study also showed that after a fun, sweaty workout session, people were in generally happy moods up to 12 hours after leaving the gym.
There are other benefits as well to going to the gym – the more obvious ones being getting into shape and losing that muffin top, to more specific reasons such as like controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure. However, the question remains, with all these added health benefits to getting in shape, how are you still unmotivated?