Do you wish you could become smarter before your final exams? Exercise may be the ticket!
According to Professor Ronald Duman from Yale University, chronic stress, anxiety and depression are linked to the loss of neurons, the cells that make up the pathways that send messages from your brain to your body. He found that exercise is linked to the growth of new neurons.
Dr John Ratey, author of Spark; The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain says that exercise can improve your brain in the short term by increasing your level of focus for two to three hours afterwards. For example, if you have an important presentation or test, working out before will help you perform at your best. Furthermore, in the long run, regular exercise can slow down the brain’s ageing process. Exercise helps improve neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to improve itself with blood flow and protein.
The benefits of exercise
Improves your mood
When you exercise, endorphins are released in your body. Along with serotonin, which regulates your moods, endorphins improve your mood and lower the symptoms of depression. Researchers from Duke University in America found that depressed adults who work out regularly improved as much as patients who are treated with antidepressants.
Ups your productivity
When you have endless deadlines, hitting the gym may not seem like a productive idea, but it could be. According to research by the Journal of Workplace Health Management, you would be 23% more productive on days when you work out. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen that’s sent to your brain. This increases your energy and makes you more productive.
Improves your memory
Forgetful? A workout may help. Your brain remembers more information when your body is active. The American College of Sports Medicine shared an experiment where students were asked to memorise letters. They were also given the option to sit quietly, run or lift weights while doing so. The students who chose to run were quicker and more accurate than all the other students.
Boosts decision-making skills
If you struggle with making decisions then it’s best you get moving! The extra dose of oxygen you get from exercise flows to your brain’s anterior frontal region which is involved with decision-making and the memory.
Helps you prioritise
If you’re used to making rash decisions or struggle to prioritise, try moving more. Endorphins released during exercise don’t just improve your mood, they’re also able to improve the prioritising functions of your brain. This will help you to concentrate on the task better, block out distractions and use your time more wisely.
Step away from the energy drink and grab your running shoes! The more you move your body, the more energised you feel. Exercise improves your muscle strength and endurance, which will give you the energy to think more clearly, come up with ideas and best of all – keep going.
Gives you endurance
When you’re busy with a gruelling task, it’s likely you’ll want to throw in the towel, but exercise can help. Endurance exercises improve your body’s ability to carry out difficult and lengthy tasks. According to the Journal of the Applied Physiology Review, you’re also training your mind to push through difficult tasks. For example, when you’re running and your body is telling you to stop, your mind can help by telling your body to keep going to achieve your goal.
So what are you waiting for? Put on your trainers, and get out there!