Exercise can benefit the brain

By: Beth Peterson, LPC
Milan Christian Counseling

We have all heard about the benefits of aerobic exercise and strength training on our bodies. It’s common knowledge our physical activity reduces heart disease, aids in the prevention of bone density loss, and helps with the maintenance of a healthy weight. Yet there are several benefits to our brain-health as well.
Aerobic exercise encourages the release endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, and GABA. These are often referred to as “feel-good” chemicals. For this reason, people often report a reduction in symptoms of depression and/or anxiety when they include exercise in their daily routines. The benefit of these chemicals is magnified by the fact that activity also reduces stress, which is a major contributing factor in most cases of mood disorders. Have you ever noticed active people tend to be more relaxed and have a more positive attitude?
When we exercise, we produce proteins that help to maintain and regenerate nerve cells. This not only has a positive effect on our memory, but it also reduces our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and brain shrinkage related to aging.It can even reduce some of the negative symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Another interesting fact is that our temporal lobes, which are responsible for storing memories related to our senses, become more active when we are physically active.
The tricky thing is…when a person is suffering from a mental illness, loss, or trauma, it can be a major struggle to be motivated to do much of anything, let alone physical activity. This is where professional counseling is beneficial. A licensed and experienced therapist can help those struggling find healing.

A great place to start is to call or email Beth at Milan Christian Counseling (734-439-3100 beth [at] milanchristiancounseling [dot] com).

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