Exercise can change the way key parts of our brain communicate as we age, improving aspects of thinking and memory – new research has revealed.
Namely, the unconnected parts of the brain memory center begin to communicate in a more complex and healthier new way after regular exercise, sharpening memory functions.
According to The New York Times, these findings broaden our understanding of how movement stimulates thinking and underscore the importance of engaging in a variety of activities that allow us to stay on the move, regardless of our age.
The idea that physical activity improves brain health is already well known. Experiments involving animals and humans show that exercise increases neurons in the brain, which is necessary for creating and storing memory, while improving thinking skills.
In older people, regular physical activity slows down the usual loss of brain volume, which can help prevent age-related memory loss and reduce the risk of dementia.
How does physical activity affect mental health?
Science has proven time and time again for many years that physical activity has many positive effects on mental health, including cognitive, emotional, and social well-being:
• Raising mood and energy (aerobic exercise increases the level of endorphins – hormones responsible for the feeling of happiness and natural energy).
• Feeling of satisfaction (increased levels of dopamine and serotonin).
• Resistance to stress (decreases the level of cortisol – “stress hormone”). Increasing resistance to stressful events through regular exercise is called “stress vaccination.” In order to achieve the greatest psychological benefit from exercise in relation to stress, it is recommended to participate in aerobic exercises several times a week for about twenty minutes, for at least twelve weeks.
• Relieving depression. Numerous studies conducted on depressed people (pupils, students, workers) have proven that physical exercise has almost the same effect on health as psychotherapeutic methods. To reduce the symptoms of depression, it is considered best to engage in a combination of aerobic (continuous and rhythmic low-intensity exercise, with sufficient oxygen available, such as cycling) and anaerobic (high-intensity and short-term exercise, such as weight lifting) activities. and that over several weeks. In doing so, it is important not to give up exercising; the longer and more often we exercise, the more pronounced the effect on reducing the symptoms of depression. Walking, running, cycling, tennis, hiking and weightlifting are especially useful for fighting depression.
• Reduced anxiety. The impact of exercise on anxiety is similar to the impact on depression, with one difference: anaerobic exercise is not as effective as depression. If we feel anxious and scared, exercises like weight lifting will not have a significant impact on alleviating our condition. Aerobic exercise is very helpful: if we don’t have time for a regular exercise program; it is enough to exercise once for more than twenty minutes to alleviate the anxiety. Recent research shows that we should benefit from even just five minutes of physical activity.
Increasing sleep quality.
• Improving mental abilities. Research has shown that exercise lasting a minimum of two weeks significantly improves our ability to learn, efficiency in making decisions and processing various information, creativity. Even a single exercise (e.g., half an hour of running) can enhance our ability to plan, organize time, direct attention, and working memory. In addition to short-term benefits, participating in physical activities can also bring us long-term benefits; in early and middle adulthood it slows down the decline in mental abilities that occurs in old age, and in addition reduces the likelihood of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
• Influence on self-esteem. Playing sports and exercising also increases our self-esteem, with the positive impact being greatest in those people whose self-esteem is otherwise low. Aerobic exercise is thought to have a greater impact on self-esteem than other types of activities.
• Increases socialization, social activity and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation (integration into social groups).
• Positive impact on health risk behavior: non-smoking, reduction of alcohol consumption, avoidance of drug use …
• Positive impact on the rate of violence (reduction).
• Physical exercise enables the development of positive social and moral qualities such as: teamwork, improvement of interpersonal relationships, solidarity, justice, determination, courage, sobriety, perseverance, perseverance, discipline, responsibility, honesty, modesty, optimism, honesty, cultural behavior, patriotism, etc.
• Physical exercise raises an individual’s quality of life.
The recommendation of the World Health Organization is daily physical activity for at least half an hour. Exercising daily or exercising at least three times a week for one hour is the best way to improve your health! Physical activity does not have to be sports. A moderate level of physical activity is sufficient to reduce health risks and prevent disease. A medium-intensity activity is one in which we can speak normally.