3 Powerful Exercises That Boost Mental Health
While the benefits of exercise are undisputed, there is consensus that different types of activities impact the body differently. For example, someone who wants to lose weight will need a different set of exercises from someone who needs to gain muscle. With this knowledge, you can select the appropriate sarms Canada to suit your desired workout.
Studies are increasingly providing evidence that apart from physical benefits, physical activity also provides numerous psychological benefits. For the older person with a foggy brain, exercise can help improve communication, leading to better memory retention and thinking. To achieve this, you will have to select the right physical activity with maximum benefits.
3 Types of Exercise That Boost Mental Health
Yoga is a traditional Indian philosophy dating back to over 2000 years that combines body and mind practice. It has gained popularity in the Western world recently, particularly in complementary health approaches.
Yoga involves the use of rhythmic breathing, physical posture, and mediation to achieve an unparalleled holistic experience for both the mind and body. The main goal of yoga is to help the practitioner gain control of their mind by expelling negative energy.
Due to these benefits, exercise neuroscientists have recently taken a keen interest in yoga, providing scientific evidence of its benefits. Various types of studies have found positive effects of yoga exercise on mental health. Researchers have found that yoga can alleviate depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms.
In one study, the researchers examined how yoga exercise affects the psychological health of patients suffering from cancer. The outcome confirmed positive effects on anxiety, depression, stress, and overall psychological health among this group. Other studies have also shown that yoga improves executive function, attention, and the speed of processing information.
The physical activities applied in yoga enables the individual to maneuver their body controllably within constricted physical space, which helps relax the body. Once this is achieved, mediation and breathing exercises help the individual attain awareness and control both body and mind sensations.
When combined with meditation, the breathing exercise, which involves deep controlled breathing, helps in achieving tranquility and focus of the mind, and greater self-awareness. Research that studied the effects of yoga on the brain revealed that the best results are attained when all the three fundamentals of yoga are combined.
The three fundamentals of yoga are physical movements, breathing exercises, and meditation. Studies further suggest that due to its effects on stress, anxiety, and depression, yoga also helps with emotional regulation. A study also has shown that the combination of these yoga exercises for a period of one week produced the same effect on brain health as a vacation.
So, if you are feeling exhausted and need some vacation, think yoga first!
Cycling is one of the best outdoor activities. It helps you build resilience and endurance, not just physically but psychologically. This is attributed to the fact that cycling starts by the cyclist setting a definite goal at the beginning of the exercise. This helps build a more connected and bigger brain.
Research has shown that cycling as a daily routine helps grow the brain just in the same way it helps grow muscles. The resilience required in cycling helps build mental strength. Studies show that just 30 minutes of cycling, particularly outdoors, help improve planning, reasoning, and memory retention.
Similar to yoga, cycling can also reduce depression and anxiety. Cycling increases blood flow in the body and the brain, allowing more oxygen and nutrients into the brain. The extra oxygen and nutrients improve brain health by increasing the production of brain cells in the gray matter, which increases the brain capacity to self-repair.
According to researchers, the protein Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is responsible for cell growth in the brain, is higher in individuals who cycle daily. Cycling is, therefore, believed to be capable of doubling or tripling neurons in the brain.
Cycling also increases neurotransmitter activity and thereby increases communication between different brain pathways, which improves cognitive function. A study examined the brains of 60 to 70-year-old adults showed that those who engaged in cycling and other physical activities had considerably younger brain cells than those who didn’t.
This proves the benefits of exercise, particularly to aging individuals.
Swimming is typically beneficial for individuals experiencing depression, stress, or anxiety. This is because aerobic exercises such as swimming are known to have a positive impact on brain function and help repair neurons in the hippocampus.
Neurons are customarily lost or damaged due to advancing age, disease, stress, or alcohol abuse. Recent scientific studies have shown that swimming encourages hippocampal neurogenesis, which can reverse neuron damage by replacing lost neurons.
Besides, swimming improves neurotransmitter activity, which alleviates the effects of stress and depression by increasing the production of endorphins that help improve mood. Endorphins are ‘feel good’ hormones that help the individual feel better and more positive, which is essential in managing stress and depression.
Physical exercise generally improves physical and cardiovascular health. However, there are certain types of activities, such as yoga, swimming, and cycling, that have a particular impact on the brain. These exercises have been proven by scientific evidence to increase oxygen and nutrients flow to the brain, thereby improving brain health.
Besides, they improve neurotransmitter activity, leading to better communication between neurons and therefore enhances cognitive function and memory retention. Even better, these are simple exercises that you can perform at home without extra expenses.
*This blog post was written by Jessica Smith.