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Mental Activity and Exercise

Why is Mental Activity and Exercise Important?

Why is Mental Activity and Exercise Important?
The brain is constantly changing, learning, adapting, strengthening and rewiring connections throughout our life. It's important to exercise your body and your brain, for they are connected.

Mental health and fitness is a fundamental factor for maintaining a good lifestyle and a good quality of life. Mental fitness provides a positive state of mind that contributes to having a healthy way of thinking and a positive attitude towards ourselves and others around us. Research continues to show that the level of our physical activity can have a direct and very influential impact on our state of mind and how we handle mental challenges. The ability to deal with lifes events such as trauma, change or illness is also a direct function of our mental capacity. Having a positive opinion of ourselves allows us to interact with others in a positive way and form relationships of a positive nature.

Numerous studies continue to show that vigorous physical activity and exercise has a positive effect on mental health. Evidence suggests that physical activity and exercise can help alleviate or reduce some symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression, anxiety, and various other mental disorders. Benefits include improve self-image, self-esteem, and social skills.

Oxygen is the brain's main fuel and it requires more of it than the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise and vigorous physical activity increases breathing, which pumps more oxygen rich blood to the brain.

In addition to physically exercising the body, the brain needs stimulation and mental/brain exercises to keep your brain sharp, strengthen existing connections, and to create new connections. Fitness mental/brain exercises include general brain teasers, crossword puzzles, word search puzzles, learning a new language, a musical instrument, or anything else that makes your mind think differently and stimulates new brain cell growth. Studies show that reading and watching TV does not exercise the brain enough, nor require the brain to create new connections. On the other hand, changing the location of a clock that's been in the same place for a long time may require the brain to rewire or create new connections. You may find that it actually takes time for your brain to adjust and become used to the change. In the beginning, you may want to know the time and look at the old location to find the clock. The old location is still active in the brain. You probably say to yourself, oops I move it over there. You are training your brain each time you have to stop and think of the new location of the clock. The time that it takes for you to get used to the change is usually the amount of time the brain needs to strengthen the new connection. Now when you want to know the time, the brain goes into automatic mode, and you'll look for the clock in the new location. The connections in the brain that stored the old location of the clock continue to fade away over time.

Since mental/brain exercise makes the brain strengthen and create new connections, exercise your brain as much as possible. Otherwise, if you don't use it, you'll lose it. The connections will just fade away and eventually disappear all together.

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