Most people know that physical activity and exercise contribute to a healthy body and its proper functioning. However, the benefits and positive impacts of exercise are not merely restricted to a healthy and fit body. Exercise also positively influences the functioning of the brain. Studies have determined that physical activity can bring about positive improvements in various areas of life apart from promoting a feeling of overall well-being, including by helping you improve brain function.
People who engage in physical activity have improved learning and information-processing ability compared to those who do not engage in physical activity. Moreover, people who are more active have been reported to be at a reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases as compared to those who are not active. Similarly, physical activity also has a positive impact on the long-term health of the brain, and individuals who are active are at a decreased risk of developing age-related cognitive decline as compared to those who are not.
So how and why is that? There are various reasons why physical activity and exercise improve brain function. Exercise and physical activity get the heart pumping, as a result of which the brain cells receive an optimum supply of nutrition and oxygen. This in turn results in a healthier brain and improved brain function. Studies have also found that individuals who engage in physical activity have more brain receptors in the neural network of their brains, which accounts for enhanced mental processing.
The positive impact of physical activity gains special significance as an individual ages since physical activity has been linked to an enhanced ability to generate new brain cells, along with allowing for less brain shrinkage.
The benefits of physical exercise and activity are not limited to old age since these improve brain function at all ages. A study revealed that teenagers who engage in aerobic exercises like swimming and walking have bigger brains than teenagers who are not involved in aerobic exercises. The part of the brain that is associated with paying attention particularly benefits from it and is enlarged as a result, thus leading to an enhanced ability to pay attention.
Moreover, physical activity is also associated with overall well-being since it allows individuals to feel less stressed and more energetic and to sleep better. Therefore, whatever age group you may belong to, if you are looking to improve brain function, process information better and faster, and feel good about yourself, then the simplest step you can take for achieving it is to engage in physical activity and exercises.