Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Exercise and improved mental health have become an area of focus over the past two decades. We now know just how important exercise is in lifting our mood and in improving our focus and memory.

This weeks ‘Healit™ Life’ offers five great reasons to exercise so that you can ensure your mind is as sharp as ever:

Exercise helps with depression:
It is widely recognized that exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. But it is not just the high we experience from endorphins that is important. They are also responsible for slow release sedative effects that help us sleep. And you guessed it, the better we sleep, the less likely we are to experience depression.

Exercise improves your memory:
Getting your heart rate up improves blood flow to the brain. The more blood that can reache the brain the better the oxygen delivery and the better the overall brain function. Researchers studying memory pre- and post-workout discovered that efficient delivery of blood to the brain during exercise led to an increase in brain volume. This led to an 15% improvement in memory and attention between the pre- and post-workout scores.

Exercise gives you an outlet for stress:
In our increasingly busy and technology filled lives, it is important to make sure that we give ourselves and our minds some time to breathe. Exercise can act as a form of meditation by allowing us to switch off our everyday thoughts and focus our minds elsewhere. Regular exercise also improves self confidence. The better we look and the healthier we feel, the more likely we are to approach our lives with confidence and conviction. Feeling good and looking good help us complete our goals more easily and without the normal worries we experience when we feel low.

Exercise helps improve your focus:
After evaluating more than 100 studies on exercise, University of Iowa researchers concluded that strength training helps your focus because it requires focus. It takes some serious effort to eek out those reps without sacrificing correct form, all while remembering to breathe and tuning out the distracting guy huffing and puffing beside you! By translating these practices of focus into your daily routine you are sure to see quick and effective changes in your ability to concentrate.

Exercise helps you achieve your goals:
Exercise, particularly endurance cardio is an excellent way to improve your ability to see tasks through to their conclusion. Since endurance cardio requires long and consistent effort, doing a lot of it may help you develop an ability to follow through with tasks. By applying the same thought process to everyday tasks you can expect everyday goals that require long-term effort to become far less daunting.

Happy training!