Many people report feeling more relaxed and energized after exercising, even though they expend a lot of energy during exercise. This is because when exercising, your body requires more oxygen in order to account for all the energy you are using in exercise. Blood, which carries your body’s oxygen, is vigorously pumped to all regions of your body, including your brain.
Your brain is your command center. You use it to think and stay sharp. When bloods goes to your brain, not only does it bring oxygen, but it also brings glucose (a type of sugar), which gives your brain energy for proper functioning. Exercise also clears your mind, and possibly helps reduce cortisol (a hormone that causes stress) levels, which makes it a good strategy to de-stress.
Here are some cool facts about exercise and your brain:
Exercise Works Out My Brain (And Yours)
Cool fact #1: Your brain uses up to 20% of your bodies oxygen. Since exercise increases oxygen levels, no wonder exercise helps your brain function! What happens if your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen? Well, what happens after you eat a large meal? You get sleepy? Why? Because more oxygen is allocated to digesting that meal in your stomach.
Cool fact #2: Some studies have shown that blood vessels in the brain can grow in response to exercise!
In addition, studies performed on senior citizens who walked regularly show that these seniors had improved memory skills as compared to sedentary seniors. Walking also has other beneficial effects such as improved learning ability, better concentration, and the risk of stroke was cut by 57% (based on a 20 minutes per day walking schedule).
Cool fact #3: Exercise has an effect on the neurons in the brain by increasing the creation, survival, and plasticity of neurons. Examining exercise from a neuroscience perspective, it works on neurons, which are cells in the body that process information through electrical and chemical signaling.
They receive information from stimuli inside and outside the body, translate that information into a signal that they send to our brain, which then sends out another signal through neurons that tells our body how to respond. In short, neurons are very important cells in our bodies. Exercise is able to increase blood flow to the brain, which some researchers speculate is on possible cause of the increase in creation and survival of neurons.
In addition, exercise helps increase synaptic plasticity, which is the ability of neurons to change its shape or pathways in response to different demands by the brain. Without plasticity, we would not be able to do MANY things as our brain is always adapting to the world around us.
This brings us to the following:
The Coolest Fact/Cool Fact #4: Not only is exercise good for health related reasons, but it also a great method of increasing your brain function and just relaxing. So, the next time you feel like vegging out at home, as tempting as that might be, try taking a walk instead!
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