Healthy mind, healthy body, healthy life

Exercising is bound to bring on changes in the body, but what about the mind? How often have you thought of that? It isn’t just a journey we go on to achieve a better body, or it shouldn’t be, but also a journey to also achieve a healthy mind.

Exercising brings on amazing changes in the mind as well as on the outside of the body. The benefits of exercising are bountiful, including improved learning and memory; boosted mood and circulation; and it supports new synapses growth in the brain, which is quite interesting.

Just with a simple workout routine one can experience improved learning and memory! 8-12 minutes of rigorous exercise (endurance training), or better yet at least 30 minutes of cardio is considered “brain training.”

Brain training equals alertness, and as college students we can’t JUST rely on caffeine to get us through the day, so a little brain training is just what we need! With the extra oxygen and glucose being pumped to the brain, it is able to function at a higher level than before. A reminder though: don’t over train.

Overtraining will lead to fatigue, which is quite the opposite of alertness. Learning is improved simply by the relief of stress. Remember to not let working out become a stress itself. It’s about having fun and moving, even if you’re doing yoga or simply stretching, you’re doing wonders for your mental state.

Within just five minutes of a workout, your mood already begins to enhance, but it doesn’t end there. With continued exercise one can experience an increased production of serotonin and dopamine (the chemicals that make you feel happy), better sleep (which helps stabilize mood) and reduced stress. The very act of moving, even if it’s not running or lifting weights, releases stress. Enjoying a nice stroll will reap the benefits of relieved stress.

As I said above, exercising causes an improvement in blood flow to the brain. Getting one’s heart rate up allows the body to pump that extra oxygen and glucose to the brain, which preserves the number of receptors. In the end, this stimulates synapses in the brain, which is (in a nut shell) stimulating the nervous system. This leads me to my next point.

Studies have shown that it doesn’t just stimulate synapses, it also can create new ones! This very process is called neurogenesis, and it’s produced by endurance training, it’s as simple as that.

his type of training causes muscles to release a protein called FNDC5 into the bloodstream. After long enough, FNDC5 production supports the regulation of a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This BDNF protein is what simulates and supports the growth of nerves in the brain as well as protect existing nerves. On a side note: BDNF is already present in existing synapses.

Exercise and the way it impacts our body is quite interesting in of itself but going deeper and seeing how it impacts our minds makes it even more alluring. So many benefits from just 30-45 minutes of three or four days out of your week and your brain and body can benefit too! You can look forward to improved learning and memory, boosted mood and circulation and the production of new synapses in your brain. In short, you get a healthier mindset, a healthier body and a healthier life.

Jasimine Thompson

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