Any physical activity that burns calories and speeds up the heart rate qualifies as exercise. In recent years, exercise has become even more necessary for preserving good health than it has ever been. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, many individuals have been living sedentary lifestyles and spending more time indoors than outside. Obesity, diabetes, and depression are just a few examples of the physical and mental health issues that have increased as a result.
Exercise can be done by walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, weightlifting, and other means. There are many benefits to exercise, including better health, weight loss, fitness, and general well-being. Exercise has also been demonstrated to strengthen the immune system, which is crucial for warding off infections and illness. Regular exercise lowers stress and anxiety, which has a positive impact on mental health. There are several forms of exercise, such as an aerobic activity that raises the heart rate and enhances cardiovascular fitness and strength training that strengthens the muscles and bones. Exercises that enhance the range of motion and lower the risk of falling include flexibility and balancing drills.
How many exercises do you need per week?
Depending on a person’s age and general state of health, the quantity of exercise that is necessary for an everyday living might change.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that persons between the ages of 18 and 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular exercise each week, as well as muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week.
The WHO advises at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or a combination of the two, for older individuals (65 years and older), as well as muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days per week.
Exercise and Brain Performance
The term “brain performance“ describes how the brain works, including cognitive activities like focus, memory, decision-making, and problem-solving. The capacity of the brain to change with the environment, acquire new knowledge, and uphold general mental health and well-being are also included. In other words, brain performance is a term used to describe how well the brain functions and how well it is able to do different mental activities.
Exercise and brain function have a complicated and partially known relationship. However, studies have shown that consistent exercise can improve cognitive ability and brain function. It can enhance cognitive abilities like memory and learning and lower the likelihood of illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease from occurring. Additionally, exercise can elevate mood and lessen anxiety and depressive symptoms. In addition, it has the capacity to raise levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein critical for the development and survival of brain cells. Some of the effects of exercise on brain performance include:
- Enhanced blood flow to the brain: Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, giving it more oxygen and nutrients that can enhance cognitive performance.
2. Neuro-plasticity: Increasing neuroplasticity, often known as the development of new brain connections, via exercise can enhance cognitive performance.
3. Stress reduction: Exercise can help people feel less anxious and stressed, which can improve their mental and cognitive functioning.
4. Mood improvement: Exercise may lift your spirits, which has a beneficial effect on concentration and productivity.
- Protection against age-related cognitive decline: Exercise on a regular basis can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Researches On the effect of Exercise on Brain Performance
There have been many research studies conducted on the effect of exercise on brain performance. Some of their results are:
- According to one research (Erickson et al. (2011) published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.), aerobic activity, which includes activities like running, cycling, swimming, or fast walking, can expand the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
- Another study showed that older people’s cognitive performance, particularly attention and working memory, can be enhanced by regular physical exercise.
- The effectiveness of brain has also been demonstrated to benefit from strength exercise. According to a research, resistance training can help older persons with their attention, executive function, and processing speed.
- Research has also shown that regular exercise can enhance problem-solving and decision-making abilities while lowering the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Physical activity can also enhance mood and lessen depressive and anxious symptoms, according to research.
What if we don’t Exercise?
Your brain’s functionality might deteriorate over time if you don’t engage in regular exercise. Without consistent exercise, the blood supply to the brain declines, which may inhibit the formation of new brain cells and promote inflammation. Cognitive functions including attention, memory, decision-making, and problem-solving may be adversely affected by this.
Lack of exercise can also raise the chance of developing depression, anxiety, and cognitive deterioration. Additionally, studies have revealed that those who are physically inactive are more likely to acquire dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
A sedentary lifestyle is also linked to greater stress levels and depressed emotions.
Effective Exercises for Better Brain Performance
Aerobic exercise: Exercises that are particularly good for the brain, such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or running, have been found to be effective. These workouts improve blood flow to the brain, which encourages the development of new brain cells and lessens inflammation.
Strength Training: Weightlifting, for example, can improve blood flow to the brain, which is good for brain function.
Mindfulness Exercises: Focus, attentiveness and decision-making abilities can be enhanced by mentally taxing workouts like yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
Fun Exercises: Because they involve practice and focus, hobbies like dancing, playing an instrument, or learning a new language can also be good for brain function.
Cognitive/Mental Exercises: Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, chess, and other brain-stimulating activities like those that require problem-solving and memory aren’t simply entertaining; they might have long-term advantages as well. A 2014 study discovered that brain training helped elderly persons preserve their capacity for reasoning and cognition. 10 years after the completion of the research period.
A mix of various physical and mental workouts is the greatest strategy to maximize brain function since, like all other muscles, the brain needs to be challenged and trained to be healthy and strong.
In conclusion, regular exercise is crucial for preserving excellent cognitive health and brain function. It helps safeguard the brain from deterioration and illness and is important for blood flow and oxygenation to the brain. Regular exercise has been demonstrated to boost mood, memory, and learning abilities as well as lower the risk of cognitive decline.
Elumind Centres for Brain Excellence is an integrated mental health centre offering solutions that can help you with your mental/brain health needs. To start your journey, book your FREE 15-MINUTE PHONE CONSULTATION. We are here for you.