Mental benefits of exercise

As a pharmacist for many years, my dad always said that 30 minutes of daily exercise can do more for our brains than most medicines.


Exercise benefits our brain.

And, he was absolutely correct.  It’s not that I didn’t believe him; it was pretty much a subject of regular conversation with him.  But he was always ahead of the curve when it came to the benefits of exercise; it has only been more recently that the research and information to back him up on this subject has become readily available.

But, the great news is, he was right, and here is why.

  • Research shows that when we exercise, our nervous system releases serotonin and dopamine, which affect our feelings of happiness, calmness, and even euphoria.
  • Research also shows that exercise helps to create new brain cells.

These benefits occur almost immediately when we exercise.

Other benefits include:

  • Improvement in thinking and memory.
  • Improvement in brain function.  Experts say that exercise raises brain focus for 2-3 hours after exercise.

Summary:  Make it a goal to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily.  Even if it is walking.  That way, if we miss a day (which will happen), we will still have had the recommended amount of exercise to reap these mental benefits.  And, keep in mind that exercise can also be performed in 10 minute increments, so as to spread it out over the day and/or week.  And if you can squeeze in some time per week to devote to strength training, or muscle building activities, that also is good for the brain.

As always, though, please keep in mind your current fitness abilities, and contact your health care provider before you start any new exercise program.

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