7 Surprising Ways Exercise Changes Your Brain

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There’s no doubt that exercise, along with good nutrition, is a great way to improve and maintain your physical shape. But working out is not only a benefit for physical fitness — it also provides surprising positive effects for your mental state. Here are some surprising ways exercise changes your brain for the better:

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Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Even small amounts of exercise can reduce anxiety and improve mood. It does this by releasing chemicals that make you feel good, like serotonin and endorphins. It also reduces chemicals in your immune system that increase depression.

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Improves Cognitive Function

Studies suggest that there is a real link between level of cardiovascular fitness and brain functions like verbal memory and psychomotor speed — the relationship between thought and physical movement. So even getting out for a brisk walk or jog 30 minutes a day is a good start to keep your brain functioning better than before.

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Makes You Less Tired and More Alert

It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise is not likely to exhaust you in the long run. That’s not what it’s designed to do. If you’re feeling lazy in the morning, and you want to, let’s say, make the most of your weekend, a good thing to do is get up and do some kind of activity — from push-ups to sit-ups, yoga, running or walking. This forces your brain to start working because you’re doing some kind of coordinated movement. Regularly doing this makes you more alert day-to-day.

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