Imagine if just one activity could boost your brain, reduce stress, ward off depression and improve every aspect of your physical health. It’s called exercise, and reaping its benefits is much easier than you think.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. Regular physical activity improves just about every system in your body. Benefits include helping you maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, stronger bones, improved balance, and even lower incidence of certain types of diabetes and cancers.
In fact, exercise is so good for you that, according to the CDC, 150 minutes a week of physical activity equates with a 33% lower risk of mortality from all causes.
But beyond the more obvious physical benefits, exercise literally helps you build a better brain and better regulate your emotions. We now know that exercise actually changes the brain, which in turn can massively improve our cognitive functioning.
That’s right – getting your body moving means that you’ll have greater mental clarity, better concentration and overall improved mental powers. When you exercise, your brain actually grows new neurons.
Research shows that exercise improves both our short- and long-term memory. Exercise can ward off mental decline and even dementia as we age. It also improves our sleep, which further improves memory and overall brain functioning.
As if that’s not enough, regular physical activity can boost your mood and significantly reduce anxiety and depression, as well as help you better manage everyday stress and uncomfortable emotions. Professor Stephen Ilardi, a depression researcher at the University of Kansas, created a revolutionary program to fight depression without medication. His program has an over 70% success rate, far better than any anti-depressant.
Professor Ilardi’s program includes several components, but at the heart of his program is physical activity. As he discovered in his research, indigenous tribes and other groups that barely experience any depression all engage in significant physical activity as part of their daily routine.