Using your mind in creative and unique ways each day is important in keeping it fit and active. Physical activity is also important to your brain’s fitness, according to the many studies on cognition that have come out in recent years. Exercises great for memory include taking a leisurely walk, getting Zen with yoga or performing hardcore cardio. All of these activities provide great benefits for your memory. Let’s take a look at how exercise helps memory and brain health.
Exercise For Memory And Concentration
There are brain chemicals that are detrimental to brain growth and function. The hormone, cortisol, is one of these. Exercise helps to lower the production of cortisol in your body, allowing you to relax and think more clearly. It also promotes the production of nerve cells in the hippocampus that are associated with the creation of new memories. During stressful periods, these cells are rapidly used up.
Increase Brain Growth
Age causes the brain to reduce the production of new cells, causing it to shrink in size. Exercise has been shown to reverse that process. Cardio workouts, in particular, are an effective exercise to use on memory improvement because they increase blood flow to the brain, leading to more oxygen reaching it.
Decreased Insulin Resistance
Insulin is necessary to produce glucose, which is fuel for the brain. It’s insulin that allows the glucose to permeate the brain’s membrane. When there is a low production of insulin, it is more difficult for glucose to cross that barrier, causing memory and cognition to be sluggish. Exercise reverses that resistance to insulin, actually increasing the brain’s sensitivity to them chemical for up to 16 hours.
Exercise And Memory
The term “executive function” refers to the performing of activities that involve complex thinking. These include things like making plans for a future event, solving a puzzle, organizing a closet or brainstorming abstract ideas.
Your working memory, or ability to hold onto information for future recall, falls under the umbrella of executive function. Exercise results in significant improvement in cognitive function. You can reap these benefits after just a month or so of exercise, but they are optimized when you engage in regular sessions over a period of at least six months.
Increased Brain Hormones
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a chemical whose production is stimulated by exercise. This chemical encourages the growth of brain cells. Much of this growth occurs in the area responsible for memory, the hippocampus.
See what I mean about exercise being good for your memory? Even starting out slowly can help. Talk to your physician about starting a regimen, and you’ll be on your way to feeling more alert and focused in no time.