We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, but did you know that there are heaps of benefits for your brain as well? Being active triggers release of chemicals called endorphins which act to make you feel good and think more clearly. When choosing a form of exercise it’s important that you find something you personally enjoy, so you can keep at it and keep healthy. Here are some ideas to start with, which are great for a healthy mind…
Ever heard of ‘runner’s high’? This form of exercise significantly boosts your mood, with reductions in tension and anxiety shown to be as powerful as antidepressants. A study which looked at thoughts during running showed it is common to think about daily events, interpersonal relationships, external surroundings, and spiritual reflection, and from this comes a sense of calm and clarity.
Swimming encourages mindful thinking and the water resistance helps you slow down and feel less stressed. Studies have shown the mood benefits of swimming include reductions in anger, confusion, tension, and depression.
Aside from the improved stamina, strength, coordination and flexibility you’ll get from regular dancing, this form of exercise does a lot of good for your brain. It has been shown to help dementia and Parkinson’s sufferers. Like running, it releases many endorphins to make you feel happy. It can also be a very social activity which encourages smiling and laughter – always a good thing!
4. Ice Skating
Whether you love the freedom of gliding around the ice and nailing jumps and spins, or you’re just working on getting away from that barrier edge, ice skating is wonderful fun and hardly feels like a workout. It definitely leaves you feeling on a high!
Like dance, it improves all areas of fitness and learning new skills triggers neuroplastic development in the brain.
There are many different types of yoga to choose from, and its benefits are wide-ranging. Yoga is excellent for those who wish to feel calmer, connected and more focused. Not only does yoga improve physical strength and flexibility, it can stimulate blood flow to the brain, improve memory, decision making and immunity, and help manage emotions.
6.Walking in nature
Ah, the great outdoors! Getting out and about for even just half an hour has been shown to boost mood, encourage reflective thinking, and make you feel more relaxed. Bonus: it’s free! Time to step outside and start exploring…