Physical activity and exercises are recommended by doctors, physicians and medical representatives for a reason. To be more precise, for a whole list of reasons.
However, even though physical activity has numerous benefits in regards to our health, many are wondering whether it actually affects our brain and the way we think, process information and connect data to reach conclusions or memorise.
It is interesting to believe that there is a connecting line (or correlation) between training your body and simultaneously training your brain, so in this article, we’ll look into whether this is true or not.
Let’s start by observing the brain as a muscle. It is a weird comparison, but it will serve the purpose of understanding how and whether physical activity affects the brain. So, when we exercise, we train the muscles in our bodies; we usually focus on abs, biceps, thighs, etc. But no one really associates that training with the fact that our brain does the same workout. We think that numeracy exercises and memory games are the workouts for the mind, but there is more to it than that. Here is how regular physical activity and exercise can stimulate your brain, clear it, and make you more intellectually toned up.
For all the students out there; wouldn’t it be better if we all could just memorise information quickly and easily? Of course, it would, that is why we all should start exercising. The part of the brain that responds to exercise is the hippocampus, the same place for the brain’s learning and memory systems. Improved cardiovascular exercises, therefore, can directly boost your memory and help the brain structure grow as you get fitter.
Exercise also affects memory formation; walking or cycling is especially useful before a studying session, which will help information stick and be easy to remember later on. It is essential, however, not to overdo the exercise. This may be counterproductive, as too much physical activity can raise the stress levels and impact your memory circuits.
Concentration and Attention Improvement
Education professionals, such as professors and teachers, have been complaining about the growing concentration deficits in students nowadays. Students seem to be easily distracted, and social media or phone use have been one of the main reasons students can’t (appear to) hold their attention for more than 20 minutes.
However, regular exercise has shown to positively affect students’ cognitive performance due to the fact that co-ordinative exercises affect concentration and attention. Many studies have shown that the difference in the attention span between students who exercise regularly and those who don’t is drastic. Students who exercise are completing the concentration and attention task quickly and more effectively.
The co-ordinative character of exercising is probably responsible for the significant improvement in concentration, and the pre-activation of parts of the brain are responsible for mediating functions, like attention. So, if you want to do better in class, and be able to follow the lectures more attentively, then make sure to do that 15-minute exercise workout.
Regular physical activity has shown to have enormous effects when it comes to one’s mood. When we exercise, we get our blood flowing, air reaches every cell in our bodies and the levels of the body’s homemade opiate rise in the bloodstream. All of this helps the brain clear out and make room for new emotional and intellectual content.
Exercising simply helps you to ‘not think’ about the problems in your life and the challenges you have to deal with in college. During the workout session, the anxiety levels lower, and your body recognises this as a sign to relax and not fight; a workout can actually be a relaxation mode for the body.
Moreover, for those suffering from depression, workouts might do wonders. Studies demonstrate that exercising treats depressive symptoms, and serves as an antidepressant of psychological treatment. According to Harvard Health Publishing, high-intensity exercises release the body’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals, called endorphins, resulting in the ‘runner’s high’ that simply makes you feel better, relaxed, stress-free and more on the positive side.
Studies suggest that students and people who overall lead a more physically active lifestyle do better on tests of creativity than their more sedentary peers.
Regular exercise seems to improve divergent and convergent thinking, which are the necessary components of creative thinking. Problem-solution and coming up with new, innovative ideas have been directly connected to the amount of exercise one does.
Regular workouts, therefore, affect a cognitive enhancer promoting creativity in a healthy way, something that every student might benefit from. Of course, students can always use some help when studying, or academic paper writing, like online writing help, courses or mentoring, but they should also turn to exercising for the full effect.
Additionally, exercise also promotes proper brain function and helps with neuro-behavioural disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Asperger Syndrome.
As we can see, in order to boost your creativity and sharpen out your critical and creative thinking, as well as deductive and problem-solving skills, make sure to start being more physically active and exercise regularly. It is probably the best and the healthiest way to improve your mind, and body, and prepare it for those long hours of studying and learning for exams.