Three reasons I love to run

by laurri on November 5, 2012

exercises

Let me begin by saying that I am definitely not the fastest runner!  Nor am I the fittest runner.    But what I am is an individual who runs because it feels good.

Yes, I am addicted!

Although not everyone loves to run, most know and understand how good it feels to exercise.  Whether that happiness manifests itself during the activity or after (perhaps for the mere fact of finishing it), the result is the same.

Research has shown that there are some positive correlations between physical fitness and the mind.  Listed below are some of these exciting discoveries.

exercise#1 Scientific studies have shown that sustained aerobic and anaerobic exercise increase the flow of blood to the brain

According to Gessner Geyer, president of Brainergy, the brain is closely connected to the body.  He states,  “In essence, we are kinesthetic learners. Learning isn’t all in our heads, and our brains don’t sit disembodied in a bucket. Our minds and bodies work together to help us pay attention, solve problems, and remember solutions. Our physiological states support our mental efforts. Movement and exercise can enhance optimal learning states. When we stand up to stretch our legs after a long bout of mental exertion, our bodies are being asked to help freshen our minds.”

He further explains, “”The physiological effects of physical activity are compelling,” says Geyer. “They include increased cerebral blood flow and oxygen to the brain; the development of capillaries, which permit collateral circulation; the release of dopamine and serotonin, two essential neurotransmitters that help sustain attention and the ability to concentrate; and the increase of BDFN, which facilitates neumplasticity–the ability of the brain to continue to grow and change throughout our life span.”

#2 ​ New research suggests that to improve our brain, we have to move our bodies, take action, get going

​Dr. John Ratey, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, states, “The reason is that the primary motor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, which coordinate physical movement, also coordinate the movement of thought. Just as they order the physical [motions] needed for moving, they order the sequence of thoughts needed for thinking. Fundamental motions such as walking and running trigger the most deeply ingrained neural firing patterns in these brain regions.”

He further explains that stimulation can be the answer for  brain connection repairs and weaknesses and memory maintenance.

losing weight

#3 A chemical release in the brain occurs while exercising  that can have positive cognitive effects

These positive feelings are those famous chemicals released by the pituitary gland called endorphins.  One article explains that after exercising for approximately thirty minutes, these endorphins will bind to the opioid receptors in neurons. This binding causes blockage of  neurotransmitter releases.  These neurotransmitter releases are responsible for sending pain messages to the brain. Without any signals to the brain, pain is diminished.

 
With less discomfort and  increased feelings of euphoria, endorphins tend to take all the credit.  There is some question as to whether these star chemicals only block pain and then allow our neurotransmitters to only send serotonin and dopamine to our brain. More research is being performed to understand exactly how it works.

 

These three reasons are only the beginning to a countless amount of research done on the effects of exercise on the brain.  Many other benefits for exercising exist as well.

 
However, for the meantime, let’s take advantage of becoming smarter and happier by finally finding the joy in exercising.

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