Benefits of Physical Activity on the Brain

Just like any of the muscles in our body, it’s important to keep our brain on it’s toes and challenge it in new and innovative ways. So imagine – working out, but for your brain. Believe it or not, a run may benefit your brain just as much as it does your heart.

Exercise, particularly those of the aerobic type, increases our heart rate and pumps oxygen to the brain. This oxygen nourishes a healthy environment that stimulates new brain cells and connections in the brain. Physical activity is also known to improve mood as it can help reduce and manage stress hormones.

Physical activity can also help alleviate ADHD symptoms. Whether it be remembering steps to a dance routine or focusing on your breathing while practicing yoga – many types of brain functioning can be improved with regular exercise. Specifically, executive functions such as concentration, memory, and attention.

In 2015, Active Living Research conducted a study on the topic, uncovering many interesting finds. For example, physically fit children have larger hippocampal volume and basal ganglia, which are important brain structures when it comes to learning. Working memory and long term memory are also more efficient in children who are regularly active. This study concluded that children who participate in physical activity are better able to maintain focus and concentration, thereby enhancing their learning experience – both inside, and outside the classroom!

The summer is a great time to take advantage of the warm weather and take your activities outside. Go for a hike, swim, or bike ride – not only will your heart thank you, but so will your brain!

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