Exercise literally makes your brain bigger

By Irene Malatesta Apr 1, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Many great thinkers today have called exercise the “magic pill” for the many physical and mental health ailments employees face, and with good reason. Hundreds of research studies have been conducted to measure the impact of exercise on everything from depression and anxiety to cognitive improvements and of course, greatly improved physical health. Exercise has even been shown to create new brain cells and new connections between parts of the brain, as well as activation of the parts of the brain responsible for memory!

Motivation is tough!

But  - and it’s a pretty big “but” - even though we all know how much exercise can improve our health, it’s still really hard to do. Many employees struggle with their fitness, and lack of motivation leads to low engagement for many well-intentioned wellness programs. Many employees might have played sports in grade or high school, but track team or soccer practice probably feel worlds away from the professional adult selves we've become.

Well, the high school jocks were definitely on to something, and you can share that insight with your employees right now. Multiple research studies have shown that exercise supports the creation of new brain cells and new connections between parts of the brain. Animal research from the Salk Institute has also shown that even moderate amounts of physical activity can lead to activation of the parts of the brain responsible for memory.

Exercise makes us smarter

Every employee has already heard the line that exercise is good for your physical health. But maybe they haven’t heard that exercise is also great for mental health. The many mental benefits of physical exercise have been conclusively proven. We at LifeDojo have seen that many times, when employees are given the full breadth of facts on just how valuable exercise is, they start to find the time and motivation to make it a regular part of their lives. We’ve seen employees become more engaged with their health and wellness programs when they know the truth: that exercise makes them smarter.

If you are an HR or C-suite leader tasked with improving the health of employees, then knowing exactly what happens to the body and mind when exercise is introduced may make the difference the next time you lead a wellness initiative with your employees.

The physical benefits of exercise are generally accepted, but the processes that occur in our brains during and after exercise are much less commonly discussed. So, we decided to take a deeper dive in to the scientific research that’s out there.  If you find the science of our brains on exercise as fascinating as we do and you want to dig in to the research with us, check out our whitepaper on the impact of exercise on our bodies and brains.

 

Get the whitepaper: Bigger Brains, Engaged Employees

Topics: fitness, exercise, brain science

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