If you read last months blog, you will know I've been getting up and starting my day at 6am (most) mornings. This has meant I've got time to do some exercise; I choose yoga, usually in my pjs. I've started to notice little changes in myself, my mood is a little brighter, my ability to focus is heightened, and my energy levels in general are improved. Having the curious mind I do, I thought I would have a little look into why.
Absolutely every health and well being, fitness and even medical article will say movement and exercise is good for you, of course, it's a no brainer. However I wanted to delve a little deeper into the why when we exercise and move do we feel better. "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands." Elle Woods. Quote from the totally awesome legally blonde movie. I believe the release of endorphins is a well known effect of exercise, yes we feel good so that's why our mood must improve, but why does our focus improve? The research continued...
I came across a TED talk with the neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. She spoke about the 2 main areas of the brain that are directly effected by exercise; the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. If you imagine that these areas of the brain are like individual muscles, then after exercise she saw that these muscles had actually strengthen and improved. lets briefly look into what these areas of the brain actually do.
Prefrontal cortex - contributes to focus, motivation and attention, controls impulses and lets us ignore distractions, It also allows us to be able to create and execute plans.
Hippocampus - responsible for long term memory and emotional responses.
So if by exercising and moving, we actually strengthen these areas of the brain, It's why we can feel more focused, make better decisions, and control our emotions. An improvement to the hippocampus is where the benefits of exercise go beyond just helping us feel good. Wendy's research proves that exercise generates new cells in the hippocampus. This means it can actually protect your brain against the effects of degenerative brain diseases such as alzheimers, how amazing is that. So don't just think about exercise as a way to get fit and feel good now, but also consider the protective effects it can have in the future for your brain and memory.
Thanks for reading have a great week and move your body x
Spike wanted to give yoga a go :)