The Brain and How Exercise Improves Mental Health

If you’re looking for a way of improving your health, naturally you will have considered physical exercise and exertion. While it’s true that exercise does indeed improve physical health, it turns out that it can also improve cognitive health and function too. By that, we are of course referring to the brain. The brain is one of the most important organs in the human body, yet many of us fail to value it in the same way as we do with other organs such as the heart for example. If you fail to look after your brain, your mental health can suffer, and you yourself can suffer later in life. If you’re looking for a simple and effective way of improving cognitive health and function, here’s a look at several ways in which exercise improves brain health.

Exercise promotes a good night’s sleep – The first way in which exercise is able to improve cognitive health and function, is down to how it improves your sleeping pattern. A lack of sleep can put you in a bad mood, it can leave you feeling irritable, it affects your levels of concentration and focus, and overtime it can result in stress and depression. When you exercise regularly, though, it can have a huge benefit on your sleeping patterns. Exercise tires you out, so you burn more energy and will sleep better at night. It also promotes an increase in hormones such as serotonin and melatonin, which both promote feelings of rest, relaxation, and tiredness in their own unique ways.

Exercise improves memory and cognitive thinking – Another very useful way in which exercise is able to promote cognitive health and function, is down to how it boosts circulation. Exercise increases your heart rate, which in turn boosts the amount of blood pumping around your body. This in turn means that it increases the amount of oxygen being carried around the body. When oxygenated blood reaches the brain, the oxygen is used by the brain for a process known as neurogenesis. This is the natural production of neurons in specific parts of the brain which are responsible for memory and thinking in general. This in turn means that exercise can help the brain to function better and more efficiently.

Exercise helps prevent dementia – As we grow older, our brains can often decline in health, and some of us will be susceptible to conditions such as dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease. As exercise helps to promote neurogenesis, it proves to be very effective for the brain later on in life, as it can help to enhance the volume of the brain and act as a natural buffer against the ill-effects of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions.

Exercise improves mental health – The world is gripped by a mental health crisis at this point in time. More and more people are suffering with bad mental health in the form of conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety. These conditions can severely affect your quality of life and can even be fatal. Exercise is very beneficial because it promotes an increase in the production of endorphins. Endorphins are known as ‘happy chemicals’ because they make us feel happier and they lift our spirits.