Man running in front of yellow sunset hillside

There is no doubt that regular exercise provides amazing benefits for your body and overall well-being. When you use your muscles, accelerate your heart rate, and breathe deeply, oxygen flows through the bloodstream and invigorates your entire system.

Although many people exercise to keep their bodies looking great, the brain, in fact, is a major internal organ that directly reaps the benefits of exercise. Studies have shown that working out regularly can boost your memory, improve concentration, elevate your mood, stimulate creative thinking, and counteract the decline of neurological tissue. So, if your mind is feeling less sharp, you are feeling lethargic or depressed, or if you need a boost of creative inspiration, see how exercises as simple as walking or a quick pullup routine can activate your dormant mental powers.

Memory Improvements

The brain’s central location for learning and memory is located in the hippocampus. What’s more, studies have shown that the hippocampus is the portion of the brain that benefits most from cardiovascular exercise. In clinical research that traced the effects of exercise on every age group, neurologists have determined that the hippocampus actually increases in size when people exercise regularly. Further investigations have also indicated that accelerating your heart rate while learning new concepts can increase the brain’s capacity to learn new concepts.

Focused Concentration

In addition to an improved capacity to memorize information, exercise can also boost concentration power. In both European and American studies, scientists have concluded that aerobic activities and athletics can increase attention spans, prevent getting distracted, improve the efficacy of multitasking, and better prime individuals to retain new information. If you are having trouble concentrating, try implementing even a view minutes of light exercise to invigorate your mental energy and regain focus on the task at hand.

Mood Boosting Powers

Physical activity has the capacity to release endorphins into the brain, priming the brain for increased uptake of serotonin, the brain’s “feel-good” chemical. That’s right, a runner’s high is not a myth. Both during and after exercise, the brain receives a hormonal boost that can counteract depression and keep you feeling great. If running is too much of a high-impact exercise for you, even more tranquil activities like yoga can stimulate a similar effect. Not only does yoga help release endorphins, but it also helps to hone the body’s capacity to relax while under duress. Some tests have shown that the focused breathing and meditation of yoga can actually shrink the amygdala, the part of the brain related to the body’s stress responses.

Stimulate Creative Thought

Any exercise, even something as simple as walking outdoors, can help improve creativity. Sometimes, the brain can feel boxed in and restrained by working in an office cubicle or in front of a computer all day. Taking a leisurely walk can provide a change of scenery, encourage introspection, and grant visual perspective. When participating in any kind of outdoor activity, take the time to visually scan your surroundings and think deeply about your environment. Taking a walk before completing any task requiring innovative thought will surely get your creative juices flowing.

Counteract the Degeneration of Brain Tissue

While an exercise routine will certainly benefit you at any age, no other demographic has demonstrated the full effects of lifelong fitness more than the elderly. Regular exercise improves blood circulation to the brain, and it can prevent the risk of strokes, dementia, and other neurological disorders from surfacing during old age. Exercise also slows the degeneration of the cerebellum, the brain’s center for balance. This protects the elderly from vertigo, dangerous falls, and even motion sickness. Even in other age groups, exercise improves hormone production, maintains clear pathways for blood vessels to flow, and can stimulate the growth of new neurological tissue.

Yes, exercise can increase your aerobic endurance and visibly improve your muscular strength, but don’t ignore the benefits of working out for the brain. All age groups have demonstrated the capacity for exercise to stimulate brain function and even combat the neurological effects of aging. The next time you find yourself in a mental slump, carefully evaluate your exercise habits, and see if even some moderate changes to your daily routine help reactivate your hidden mental power.

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About The Author

Jade Pulman's picture

Jade is a full-time mother of three children she adores. She graduated with her bachelors degree in Family Studies and Nutrition and works hard to implement her learning into her family life. When not writing, you can find her in the outdoors or exploring museums and aquariums with her loving husband and children. 

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