There’s no doubt that exercise provides many health benefits. When people exercise correctly, it has also been proven to drastically change their physical appearance. And while many of us are seeking the physical health changes exercise brings, we may be ignoring the substantial benefits exercise can have on our mental health.

For years researchers have studied the effects exercise has on mental health. In fact, all of that running, lifting, and stretching you have been pushing yourself to complete may provide health benefits you never considered.

Feel Good – There is a reason the expression “runners high” is used to describe the euphoric feeling endurance athletes feel after workouts. When you participate in moderate to intense aerobic exercise for 30 minutes or more, endorphins and natural opiates increase, which can help block pain and may improve mood. You don’t have to be an athlete to get the same effects in your workouts. You can also flood your brain with these same hormones to help you feel great! Run, bike, row, swim, or play to a point where you are breathing heavy to get started.

Boost your brain – As we get older, our brains, just like our muscles, decline in size, strength, and function unless we take steps towards combating the natural aging process. Brain atrophy, or the speed at which your brain degenerates, can be mitigated by regular exercise. There has also been research that shows increases in the white brain matter volume and hippocampus size, which can help increase learning abilities and other brain functions.

Brain-boosting benefits from exercise are not limited to adults. Higher-fit children showed greater hippocampal volumes and superior relational memory performance compared to lower-fit children. Attention and brain processing speed has also been shown to increase. So, the next time your thinking feels slow, or you’re in a bit of a fog, consider the brain boosting power exercise can give. Your future self will thank you.

If feeling good and boosting your mental performance isn’t enough to get you motivated to make exercise a top priority, then check out some of these other positive benefits.

- Reduced cognitive decline

- Improved sleep

- Increased libido

- Decrease stress

- Reduced tiredness

If you’re unsure on how to get started with your next exercise program, check out some of the EFITMENT fitness equipment to help you add some brain-boosting exercise to your schedule.