Get Buckets For Your Brain: 3 Long Term Benefits of Exercise for your Brain
As anyone who has exercised before knows, there are a ton of great reasons physically and mentally to do so. Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki explains that doing regular physical activity has immediate, long-lasting, and protective benefits for your brain that can last for the rest of your life and protect you from Depression, Alzheimer's, and Dementia.
First off, there are immediate effects for your brain after just one work out. Your brain will release:
1. dopamine, which simply makes you happy.
2. serotonin, which modulates cognition, reward, learning, memory, and more.
3. noradrenaline, which increases increases alertness, promotes vigilance, enhances formation and retrieval of memory, and focuses attention.
Dr. Suzuki goes on to explain that focusing on cardio-respiratory exercises actually changes the anatomy, physiology and functions of your brain. She explains the 3 long-term benefits to long-term exercise:
1. The part of the brain responsible for long-term memory (hippocampus) actually grows brand new brain cells that increases its volume and long-term memory function.
2. There is an improved attention function that is dependent on your prefrontal cortex (front of the brain) that also increases in volume and your ability to focus.
3. You don't only get the immediate effects of mood when you exercise but you also get long-lasting increases in "good mood neurotransmitters".
Lastly, she explains how long-term exercises can protect you from neurodegenerative diseases, "Here you can think of the brain like a muscle, the more you're working out, the bigger and stronger your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex gets. Why is that important? Because these are the two areas that are most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases and normal cognitive decline in aging."
Dr. Suzuki explains that creating a big and strong brain is NOT going to cure diseases like Alzheimer's or Dementia, but will protect your brain so it takes longer for these diseases to actually have an effect.
It turns out the necessary exercise needed get that big and strong brain is only 3-4 times a week for a minimum 30 minutes for a lifetime!