Most of you know that physical exercise is great for the health of your body, but do you know that it’s great for your brain too? Regular exercise is, in fact, the real fountain of youth. It keeps your brain young and vibrant and can help ward off serious problems like depression, anxiety, obesity, heart disease, and dementia. Another amazing thing about physical activity is just how good it makes us feel!Regular exercise is the real fountain of youth. It keeps your brain young and vibrant and can help ward off serious problems like depression, anxiety, obesity, heart disease, and dementia. Click To Tweet
Beyond working out at the gym, there are many types of exercise that support your brain health—and they’re really fun to do!
3 Fun Ways to Exercise Your Body and Brain Together
If you haven’t already participated in the following forms of exercise, I suggest you check them out because they’re great workouts that help you feel calmer, sharper, more focused, and energized.
From the time we’re little kids, most of us naturally start dancing. I know some people can be shy about it, but dancing really is something everyone deserves to enjoy—regardless of ability. Not only is it great to move your body to the rhythm of music but doing so gives your brain a boost too. Dancing requires coordination which activates the cerebellum, located in the back bottom part of your brain. This is especially beneficial for anyone who feels like they have “two left feet.” And, when we dance with others, it improves our social bonding, which is another brain benefit.
An excellent way to work out your brain is to learn new dances that require you to memorize steps, such as with the various swing dances or country line dancing. If going out to dance isn’t your thing, sign up for a Zumba class at your local gym or rec center, or take an online class so you can dance at home with nobody watching. Not only will it challenge your brain, especially at first, but you’ll also work up a good sweat—and probably make some new friends too.
Paddle and Racket Games
My husband’s favorite exercise is table tennis—what most people call ping-pong. And he’s quite the expert at it. He loves it for how much it engages multiple areas of the brain simultaneously. A competitive game of ping-pong is quite aerobic, which increases blood flow to the brain. It also requires a lot of mental and physical coordination, similar to the way learning a new dance does.
Games like tennis and pickleball have these brain benefits too, as well as increased aerobic activity (think more blood flow and oxygen) since they require bursts of running on the court. They also demand a great deal of hand-eye coordination and quick footwork movements that fully engage the body and brain.
If you’ve ever done yoga, chances are you’re familiar with the calming effect it has. If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend looking into it for a few reasons. By focusing on your breath at the same time you move your body into the various postures, your brain gets an amazing workout. When we shift our attention away from our own thoughts and concentrate on what we’re doing with our bodies, it quiets the chatter in our head. Yoga can also improve mental focus, memory, and other cognitive processes, while lowering anxiety and depression.
Go For It!
Adding these types of physical activity into your cache of workout choices will benefit you in numerous ways. They’re great for improving your physical fitness, strengthening your brain, elevating your energy, and increasing your confidence. Plus they’re fun and wonderful opportunities to build social connections.
So get out there and give them a try—I think you’ll be glad you did!
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.