At this point, everyone should know that leading an active lifestyle is an effective way to prevent health conditions and illnesses from occurring. Regardless of one’s age, all of us should partake in physical activities and get our heart rate going in order to stay healthy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most adults should get a minimum of two and a half hours of exercise weekly to increase their health in areas like losing or maintaining weight, boosting brain health, and reducing the likelihood of chronic health conditions. If you’ll like to find out more about how physical activity affects brain health, continue reading.
Neuroplasticity means many things, though it can be viewed as a general term for how our brain adapts and grow throughout life by forming new neural connections. This is especially important as these neural connections allow us to process information, learn new skills, recover after suffering from injuries, and many more. Essentially, it allows us to function in life. How physical activities help to improve neuroplasticity is that by increasing the heart rate, more oxygen is pumped into the brain, thus ensuring the brain performs healthily.
Boost Mental Health
An important thing to note is that there’s a clear correlation between physical activity and mental health. By practicing good physical health, we’re also ensuring positive well-being. As we exercise and partake in activities that make us happy, our bodies reduce the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and increase the production of endorphins, which not only helps to soothe our minds but also reduce negative feelings like anxiety and depression. Physical activities also provide opportunities for individuals to socialize more, have better sleep patterns, and be more confident. All these lead to improved mental wellness over time.
This is especially helpful for loved ones with dementia. Over the years, many studies have shown that physical activities have a positive impact on our cognitive development, allowing us to build up mental skills like memory skills, thinking, problem-solving, and many more. This is achieved by stimulating physiological changes in the body, such as reducing insulin resistance, preventing inflammation, promoting the growth of new blood cells, and improving overall health. As such, if you find that your loved ones are showing signs of cognitive decline, it would be good to encourage them to take up more physical activities during their free time.
Improve Focus and Concentration
According to one study, taking part in just one physical activity a day helps to improve our mind’s reaction time, which means that we’ll be more focused on tasks and have an easier time concentrating. This also aids in cognitive development over time. The study recommends physical activities that get our heart rate going, such as brisk walking, playing tennis, and swimming, in order to see significant improvements.
Prevent the Brain from Aging
Just like any other muscle, our brains do age as we grow older. This means that older adults are at particular risk of their brains aging, leading to them having a higher chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. How physical activities help to prevent the brain from aging is by increasing the size of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, parts of the brain that delay the onset of cognitive decline.