Exercise is the universal medicine for almost anything that ails us
12/15/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

If you want to keep your body strong, you need to exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet. According to Dr. Ronald Tarrel, physical activity can also help boost brain health.

Regular exercise is good for your brain and body

Dr. Tarrel, a neurologist specializing in stroke and neurocritical care at the Noran Neurological Clinic, shared that he often prescribes exercise to patients since it is "the most universal medicine" for any health problem. Exercise can help your body move better physically by strengthening your bones, joints, and muscles. Additionally, exercise can help regulate body functions such as blood pressure, glucose, and insulin.

However, not many people know that regular exercise can also significantly boost your brain health in four ways.

It can boost your mood.

Physical activity can positively affect your brain chemistry. Whenever you work out, your body releases endorphins, the "feel-good" chemicals that can help trigger positive feelings. Exercising also helps release serotonin, a neurotransmitter that functions as a natural antidepressant.

Both endorphins and serotonin can help improve your mood. If you feel anxious or stressed, physical exercise can help you relax.

It can enhance your attention span and focus.

Exercise can double as a form of "moving meditation" so you can have an easier time concentrating on a specific task. Regular exercise can help you deal with daily stressors. For example, you can bike for several miles, do some yoga poses, or swim a couple laps in the pool to forget about the day's irritations and simply concentrate on your body's movements.


By forgetting daily stressors through moving meditation, you can become calmer and more level-headed, so you can focus at work.

It can improve learning and memory.

Physical activity can increase your heart rate, and this helps improve the flow of blood and nutrients to your brain. Both are considered as the main factors for boosting learning, memory, and the ability for abstract reasoning.

Research has also determined that exercise can help increase the actual size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is responsible for verbal memory and learning.

It can make your brain stronger.

The human brain can create new brain cells via a process called neurogenesis. Exercise is crucial for this process because physical activity helps "increase neurons' creation, survival, and resistance to damage." If you exercise regularly, you can help strengthen your brain more. (Related: Simple yet powerful ways to strengthen your brain.)

Overall, anything good for your heart also benefits your brain. No matter what your age is, you can always reap the benefits of regular exercise for both your mind and body.

Dr. Tarrel concluded that you could stick to activities that you enjoy to boost your brain health. However, if you want to make your routine more challenging, you can also try out a new activity. He added that those with both physical and mental demands, like ballroom dancing, martial arts, or rock climbing, will have a greater impact on cognitive function (e.g., thinking, reasoning, and remembering) over just exercise or mental tasks.

Exercise tips for brain health

Here are some guidelines that you can follow if you want to start exercising to boost your brain functionality.

  • Aerobic exercise – Regular endurance exercises, such as biking, running, or swimming, can help improve heart health, promote new brain cell growth, and preserve existing brain cells.
  • Balance – Your balance will steadily decline as you age, but you can remedy this with balance training. This kind of training will help prevent falls and improve your overall movement. Balance training includes simple exercises such as standing on one foot or walking backward.
  • Flexibility – As you get older, your flexibility will gradually diminish. Improving your flexibility means you'll have more energy, and it can help improve your posture and minimize the risk of injury. Activities like stretching, Tai chi, and yoga can help you stay more flexible.
  • Strength training – Strength training, like resistance training or lifting weights, helps build muscles and strengthen your bones. Additionally, it can boost your mood, enhance concentration, and improve brain power.

To browse more articles about natural ways to boost your brain health, visit Brain.news.

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