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Excercising and Your Brain – How Exercise Helps Mental Performance

Exercise is something everyone needs to do regularly because it helps almost all aspects of your life, including controlling your weight and helps you manage medical conditions like diabetes. There are so many reasons why exercise is good for you, but a lot of people don’t realize that exercise is also good for your brain. You might not see the physical changes in your brain when you exercise, but you can definitely feel a difference internally because exercising will help you boost your mental performance. A lot of people don’t quite understand how exercising regularly can be beneficial to your mental performance and your overall brain health, which then positively impacts other aspects of your life as well. Here are three ways that exercising regularly can improve your mental performance.

Can Help You Focus

When you exercise, you often have to be focusing in order to maintain your safety, especially if you are lifting weights or doing cardiovascular workouts. When you have 20 pound dumbbells in each hand you have to pay careful attention to what you are doing and who is around because one wrong move can seriously hurt you or someone else. This need to stay focused while working out is one way in which it can positively boost your mental performance outside of the exercise world. Having the ability to focus on what you are doing is great for all aspects of your life, whether you are working or at school taking a test. Your mental performance improves if you have the ability to tune out the crowd and just focus on the task at hand, because it means you will be doing a better job than if you were constantly distracted by others. Focusing is also important because it can help keep you safe if you are working in a dangerous situation, such as if you are working on a crab boat.

Improves Muscle Memory

Muscle memory is simply another name for motor learning, which is when your body learns how to do a mental or physical task without thinking about it through repetition. When you exercise, you are often improving your muscle memory, because you are completing the same tasks over and over to the point that it becomes second nature. In order to have great mental performance, you need to have strong muscle memory, because you have to have some skills that are automatic to your brain. Muscle memory is one of the biggest keys to success in life because it’s basically like practicing something over and over again until you get it perfect. Muscle memory allows you to do a task without thinking about it which then frees your brain up to do more important or thought-intensive tasks. Muscle memory is just like regular memory, the more you use it the better your brain function will be. You can think of it like your brain is working to tell your muscles what to do and when to do it, and the quicker your brain sends that signal the quicker the action takes place. Muscle memory can help you succeed at jobs where you are doing a repetitive task over and over, such as in a warehouse where you have a daily quota you have to meet. This improvement in muscle memory allows your brain to process the information faster each time you perform the action, which then leads to you being able to have quicker reflexes.

Improves Depression Symptoms

One way that exercise can boost your mental performance is by alleviating the symptoms and feelings of depression, which is known to negatively impact your brain function. When you exercise, your body releases a lot of chemicals and hormones, one of which is called endorphins. neuropharm-depressionEndorphins are what is known as a feel good chemical, because it interacts with brain receptors to give you a positive or pleasurable feeling. These positive and pleasurable feelings alone can help reduce the symptoms of your depression, since you will begin feeling happy and pain-free, and you will also notice you have a more positive outlook on life in general. Exercising also helps reduce anxiety, which is a common symptom associated with depression. If you do not feel pain or anxiety and you have a happier mindset, obviously this will boost your mental performance because you will not be distracted by these negative thoughts. Exercising also helps control your blood sugar levels and your blood pressure, which can both negatively impact your mental performance. When you are depressed, you might have higher than normal blood pressure or blood sugar levels, which disrupts the chemical balances in your brain, and also can disrupt your metabolism and send you into a listless behavioral pattern. Once you get up and start exercising, you will notice you have more energy to do things you want to do and you will feel like doing things, and your brain will feel less foggy in the process.

Can Improve Memory

Exercising is also great because it can improve memory, which is essential for boosting your mental performance. When you exercise, you are getting a lot of oxygen rich blood flow to the brain and all throughout your body, which is vital for keeping all of your organs in perfect condition. The more blood flow to the brain you have, the better your cognitive abilities will be, especially when it comes to your memory and ability to recall information from a short time ago. There are several areas in the brain that are responsible for storing information and processing that information, which is then used by the body to do specific tasks or recall specific information. Working out helps the brain improve function in these key areas, which means you will have an easier time processing information, such as when studying for a test. The improvement in memory can also help you because you will be able to watch an instructional video or read materials one time and understand it, as opposed to having to go back and reread information due to the brain not understanding the information.

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