Tuesday, October 08, 2019

How Is Exercise Good For Your Mental Health?

Man Running on Side of Road

To be a brainiac, get sweating. A study from Oregon Health & Science University revealed that even short bouts of exercise improve our capacity to learn. Researchers found that when a mouse ran on its wheel for two hours, it “turned on” a gene responsible for triggering the growth of synapses and dendritic spines among neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain where memories are formed.

“The changes we saw would be the equivalent of going to the gym for an hour,” says study author and neuroscientist Gary Westbrook. “This means you don’t have to be a marathoner or work out a ton to get the benefits.”

Two Woman Doing Exercise

Prior studies looked at exercise’s impact over weeks or months, but it seems a single session can alter the brain. So if you’re in the midst of a challenging work project, still set aside some gym time.

You’re well aware that hitting the gym can knock your stress level down a few notches and flood your body with feel-good endorphins. But the mental health benefits of exercise go beyond its immediate mood-boosting effects. Our partners at Greatist recently took a look at all of the ways that working out makes your brain work better. Here are a few that we were most psyched about:
  • Interval workouts can cut through anxiety. Studies show that moderate-to-high intensity cardio sessions turn up the release of brain chemicals that make anxious exercisers feel calmer.
  • Working out makes you smarter. Research suggests that aerobic exercise helps create new brain cells and improves the way your brain works. Tough workouts can also boost decision-making, higher thinking, and learning.
  • Exercise breaks help you get more done at work. Workers who regularly break for short walks or jogs have more energy and are more productive than their sedentary peers.
For 10 more mental benefits of exercise, check out the full report at, and to avoid an exercise burn-out, read 7 Ways to Avoid Overtraining Forever.
Source: Men's Journal

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