Whether the goal is losing weight or becoming stronger, the main fitness tips revolve around the importance of cardio exercises. Cardio helps burn calories and thus accelerates the process of weight loss and boosts your brain activity. It happens because cardio exercises allow extra blood to be pumped to the brain, which is important for metabolism. After all, the blood is the transporter of oxygen and certain nutrients and chemicals that are very much needed to enhance certain bodily functions, including problem-solving, memory, and efficiency. One of the chemicals that are released from doing cardio exercises is endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s self-prescribed anti-anxiety drugs because these chemicals interact with the brain to increase focus, decrease pain impact, and improve your general mood. As it is seen, cardio is the most important of the fitness tips, and many celebrities such as Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez do it too. Further, the importance of cardio and its effect on brain activity will be elaborated on in detail:
Cardio Exercises’ Effects on the Brain
As previously mentioned, cardio exercises send more blood to the brain, feeding the brain’s cells with oxygen and nutrition such as glucose, which improves the performance of these cells. Additionally, hormones, which are sent to the brain by the movement of the muscles, interact with the chemical brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The oxygen and nutrients that the blood sends to the brain and the chemicals released by the muscle movements help the brain grow.
According to John J. Ratey, a psychiatry professor at the Harvard Medical School, BDNF is the chemical that functions as fertilizer to the brain, allowing it to absorb new information, process it, and even generates new cells. Some of the hormones that are released are serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps in muscle building and general emotional health; dopamine, another neurotransmitter whose main purpose is the regulation of movement processes and gives the tendency to take steps in achieving rewards.; and norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter which acts as the body’s auto-stress-detector and stress-relief. The inefficiency of dopamine can cause Parkinson’s disease, whereas having particularly low levels of the hormone norepinephrine can lead to ADHD or depression. Therefore, if you follow the fitness tips properly and do more cardio, you can assist your brain in performing better and prevent certain diseases and disorders.
The Mental-Related Benefits of Cardio Exercises
Differently from weight loss exercises, cardio directly affects your mental stability. A study conducted among 250 employees of three companies concluded that 201 performed much better after exercising regularly. The employees mainly did exercises that can be considered cardio due to oxygen consumption. These exercises have the same effect as coffee but with healthier results. Whereas the effects of a coffee decrease as time goes by, the effects of cardio increase the more exercises you do.
The Immediate Boost of Memory
Furthermore, in another study, 81 participants who were German-speaking healthy females were divided into three groups in which the first was asked to learn new words after having set doing nothing, the second after they had exercised, and the third while they were exercising, it was concluded that the third group who exercised and studied simultaneously memorized more words than the second and the third group. The third group, the inactive one, had the worst performance. Thus, they should start doing more cardio exercises for better results and memory.
The Decrease the Stress Level
Moreover, you might have experienced an improvement in your mood after you went for a run. It is no coincidence as running is one of the best cardio exercises in most trainers’ fitness tips; regarding a study presented at the Society of Neuroscience annual meeting, running (as well as other cardio exercises) helps deal with stress. This study examined rats thrown in cold water to see how they handled stress. The group of rats that could run before appeared less stressed than the group that had not. Running functioned as a mechanism against stress which also happens to humans due to the release of hormones.
Feature Image Source: HealthCorps