Exercise – No. 4 on Healing series
Of the 10 things that promotes a healing mind, exercise is number 3 on my list.
It increases heart rate we all know but did you know that by sending more oxygen to the brain, it aids the growth of brain cells by releasing hormones? In other words, working your muscles builds your brain bulk! I don’t mean that your head will explode but the tiny membranes and connectors.
There is a lot of science about increasing connectivity in many cortical areas of the brain and so on. You can read about this in detail if you like, but the bottom line is that exercise makes your brain work better, aiding in decision making and solving problems.
However the mental benefit is what is most fascinating. There are antidepressant-like effects due to a drop in stress hormones due to exercising. A Stockholm study tells you more about this. The main point is that exercise has effects on your mind that enables it to heal and be more capable. A mind that is more whole and functioning better is also one that enables the body to heal better.
Here’s a bonus. Exercise slows down the aging process of the brain by enabling the birth of new neurons in the hippocampus, a brain structure associated with memory. How’s that for another reason to exercise if you are getting up there in age? Exercise your way to a longer and fuller life! We tend to view exercise as beneficial to getting that summer body or bulking up to impress the girls (or guys, hey everyone has needs) Now we, that is all age groups, can see exercise with a more profound benefit, the well being of our minds, our brains! It’s a beautiful cycle. A healthy body is a healthy mind, while a healthy mind fosters a healthier body. By a healthier mind, we are referring to the physical and mental states of the mind.
In today’s world where social networking and unrelenting connectivity is producing a population plagued by anxiety and depression , exercise is once again the answer. How? Well I am no expert but there is ample information online which I will share with you.
The benefits are related to neurogenesis (the generation and creation of new neurons) and europlasticity(synaptic plasticity, or alterations to the strength of already existing synapses) I have no idea what all this means, I am not a doctor but there are studies to back this up.
Many of these benefits are due to the ability to reduce insulin resistance and inflamation. (Goldman, 2014) You can read more on this here.