Boost Your Brainpower
Guest Post by Alex Lane, Open Hand Atlanta Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
You often hear about the physical benefits of exercise such as weight loss, improved blood sugar, and lowered cholesterol. But what about your brain? Let’s talk about how physical activity can boost your mood, help you respond to stress, and build new brain cells.
Mood– (instant gratification!) taking the time for exercise can stimulate the release of chemicals in your brain, such as endorphins, that provide an instant mood and energy boost.
Stress– think of exercise as a way for your body to practice its response to stress. Exercise toughens up our brain so that when we experience stress, it has less of an impact. Lifting weights to some loud, hard rock or going for a bike ride are great ways to lower that stress level.
Coping– Many people cope with life’s challenges by drinking, eating, watching TV, or just avoiding it completely. Exercise is an excellent tool- it gives you an outlet to react to the situation, and gives your brain time to think it through.
New brain cells– studies on mice and humans show that exercise creates new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis. How cool is that? New brain cells help to keep your memory intact and improve overall brain performance.
Feel like exercise is hard to do? Start slow and small. Begin with walking at a moderate pace. Exercise is not a punishment- choose an activity that you enjoy! Try working out with a friend, taking your dog on a walk, or listening to music while you exercise.
Interested in learning more about connecting your fitness AND nutrition goals? Get started with a complimentary 10 minute chat with Good Measure Meals registered dietitian and certified person fitness trainer, Alissa Palladino.