Cardio for Better Brain Function
Being in good mental shape is good. Being in good physical shape is good. Exercising takes all of these “goods” and combines them into a “best” that improves not only the body as a whole but the brain as well. Most people know that cardio exercises are particularly good for the heart, but they may not know that cardio is great for the brain in multiple ways.
At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, we understand the importance of cardio exercise for a healthy body and a healthy mind. Contact Zero Gravity for even more information about the brain boosting power of cardio.
Conventional wisdom says that cardio exercise is good because it ups the heart rate, which increases heart strength and improves circulation. An increased heart rate has a bonus function that is good for the brain: it increases oxygen. The more oxygen the brain gets, the better it performs. Memory, decision-making abilities, and problem-solving abilities all get boosts in effectiveness and efficiency from the increased oxygen that goes to the brain during cardio exercise.
Hormones can cause trouble for people at certain points and in certain circumstances, but cardio exercise causes the brain to release hormones that benefit people. During exercise, the brain releases serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These hormones improve mood, attention, and learning abilities. Cardio exercise makes the brain happy, which makes people happy – what better reason could there be for doing cardio exercise?
Not only does cardio exercise make the brain happy: it also makes the brain bigger. The rush of blood, oxygen, and hormones the brain gets from cardio exercise leads to brain growth. Scientists have detected growth in the area of the brain that coordinates learning and memory in people who regularly do cardio exercise, which leads to better focus and recall. Cardio exercise helps people bulk up their hearts and their brains.
The daily grind can wear a person out physically and mentally, but cardio exercise can energize the brain so it can make it through the workday. A recent study shows that those who exercised before or during the workday were nearly 25 percent more productive during the workday than those who did not exercise. Cardio exercise can also help the brain think faster, which can help people complete tasks more quickly and efficiently.
The negative physical tolls of stress are well-documented, but stress can cause numerous mental problems as well. Cardio exercise works out much of the tension that can build up due to stress and can produce long-lasting mood boosts that help the brain deal with stress. In fact, one study suggests that cardio exercise might help the brain process stress by presenting a physical challenge for the body and brain to overcome.
In order to be effective, people must do cardio exercise at least 3 times a week with the best results coming after regular exercise. While the exercise sessions should be fairly rigorous, they do not have to be completely exhausting. Even moderate exercises like brisk walking or biking at a regular pace can be beneficial to the brain.