Move it! The Seven Best Reasons to Exercise
Working out can do wonders for how you look on the outside, but that’s not all exercise is good for. Better mental health, stronger bones even easier orgasms, here are some of the other amazing benefits you’ll enjoy if you get your heart rate up more often.
1. Move it… for better memory
The effects of exercise on your brain have been well documented, but one of the most recent studies suggests it has many benefits for memory recall. Researchers at Dartmouth College in Hanover recently surveyed two groups: a sedentary group and an active group. The active group who’d exercised for the past month and on the day of testing performed better in memory tests, and improved their anxiety levels. Some researchers believe it may be partly due to a protein called BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor) which acts like a ‘reset’ button for the brain – which is why we have greater clarity and are less stressed after exercise.
In The Memory Book, Judith and Janet Wiles discuss exercise and memory, saying the best thing to do to boost memory is getting regular exercise like walking. “It’s the key for getting more oxygen to the brain cells,” they write, “and providing optimum conditions for memory.”
2. Move it… for improved mental health
The same study at Dartmouth College also found that regular exercisers enjoyed reduced anxiety, compared to the sedentary group. And how about depression? Kate Carnell, CEO of Beyond Blue, says that if you’re a sufferer there’s absolutely no doubt that regular exercise should be a part of your treatment plan.
“It’s essential. We’re not 100 percent sure as to why regular exercise can help alleviate depression, but there are lots of theories,” explains Carnell. “We think exercise changes levels of chemicals in the brain, including serotonin – and also stress hormones. And, we know that endorphins are released with exercise which can help to lift mood. Exercise also helps you sleep better, and increases energy levels. Even regular exercise at a fairly low level helps quite significantly”.