When we think of exercise we think mainly of the effects it has on our physical health. The benefits of exercise extend well beyond the physical, stabilizing and energizing both our emotional and mental faculties. In essence, exercise feeds the brain, and too many of us our starving.

Author John Medina in his book Brain Rules says that “physical activity is cognitive candy.” The brain needs food, oxygen, rest, and low stress to perform well and exercise plays a big part in integrating those elements and breaking them down into things the brain can use.

  1. People who exercise tend to eat healthier. Healthy feed promotes an active brain.
  2. Exercise boosts oxygen in the blood, including blood flowing to the brain.
  3. Exercise helps you sleep better. A well rested mind is more alert.
  4. Exercise boosts feel good hormones, which reduce stress. Stress can cripple brain function.

It doesn’t take much exercise to see the benefits in your mental health. A peaceful walk, yoga, jazzercise, kickboxing–getting down on the dance floor Saturday night–it all helps stimulate the brain. In what ways can you feed your brain today?