How exercise helps keep your brain healthy

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Shutterstock.com/ Nikita Sursin

When you compare the mind of a person who is active to the mind of a person who is inactive, it is easy to see that exercise is beneficial to the brain. Exercise helps you have the desire to set goals, work to achieve those goals, and think more clearly. Research has proven that the more active you are, the better your brain functions as you age; but why is this?

First, let us consider our bodies in comparison to a car. If you use your car, keep up with maintenance, and allow it to rest when overworked, then essentially your car will function at optimal levels. However, if you push the gas quickly, ignore the warning signs, or fail to keep up with maintenance, then the car will break down a lot quicker than you expect. Now that you have a basic understanding of how our bodies function, let us look further into why exercise is beneficial for our aging minds.

Your brain is a muscle that requires exercise, and we have all heard the saying, use it or lose it. Exercise allows you to use your brain, and it is even known to heal pathways that have been damaged throughout your life. The results of exercise are easily visible when you look at your body, but the results are less noticeable with your brain. However, if you exercise regularly, then you notice the benefits far more easily. For instance, you can think more clearly, your reaction time is better, and you have better balance.

Exercise also helps you sleep at night, which means that your entire system gets a chance to rest and recover throughout the night. Your stress levels plummet, and your sense of self is improved. These are all factors that lead to a healthier and happier life. You will notice that regardless of your age, exercise tends to provide a sort of drive that is not present in individuals who do not find the time to exercise.

There are many forms of exercise to choose from that will help your brain age gracefully. For instance, aerobics, strength training, and even dance are perfect for improving cognitive functions. As your body becomes more flexible and stronger, so too does your brain. This means that tasks such as memory, walking, talking, and thinking are far easier when you exercise.

If you do not currently exercise, then consider setting aside at least 15 minutes per day. You will find in less than one week’s time that you can react faster, focus easier, and you feel motivated to live life. Therefore, the earlier you start working out, the better chances you have of using your mind to the fullest. Research has shown that simple tasks are harder for adults who do not exercise in comparison to young minds that are naturally a bit more active. It is also better to start a good habit early in life so it will stick with you for a lifetime. The thoughtful life choice will keep your brain from becoming like a car rotting in a junkyard, and you will enjoy the ability to think and function easier.