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We all know that physical activity has many beneficial effects on our physical health. Exercise lowers blood pressure, protects against chronic and cardiovascular diseases, and lowers the risk of certain cancers. The benefits may also extend beyond physical health as a new study shows that exercise boosts creativity and brain function.
How Can Exercise Boosts Creativity and Brain Function?
There are a lot of studies and hypotheses regarding how exercise can help our increase our creativity, but one popular belief relies on one area of our brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the region in our brain that plays a major role in long-term memory.
Exercise has been known to stimulate the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which promotes the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus. The growth in the hippocampus might help in creativity since research shows that we creatively think and imagine what will happen in the future using this area of our brain.
Brain function, on the other hand, is greatly affected by exercise by increasing the heart rate to a healthy level and supplying oxygen to the brain. Exercise can also improve brain plasticity by encouraging the creation of new connections between cells.
What Kind of Exercise are Good for Our Brain and Creativity?
Tips for Choosing the Right Exercise
Knowing that exercise does not only benefit your physical health but also your brain function and creativity might motivate you to start an exercise program. But note that the study suggests daily physical movement. This may be a challenge for those who are working for long hours, so here are some physical activities and exercise you may want to try and you can easily incorporate into your daily life.
If you are a person who hates going to the gym, then this is good news for you. With walking, you will get almost the same effect as running on a treadmill if you walk fast enough to elevate your heart rate, temperature, and respiration. This is also a wonderful method to add more movement into your day, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle and rarely exercise. There is also a popular notion among writers that walking helps with their creativity. According to research, writers who walk outside can create more high-quality novels than those who just sit inside.
Jumping jacks is usually included in a warm-up routine before a more strenuous workout activity. It is known as a brain-boosting activity as it can help your brain get a big energy boost by making your blood pulse harder, which keeps it operating without wearing it out. Jumping jacks can also enhance your motor skills and reduce the risk of long-term dementia.
Swimming, as a low-impact workout, is a terrific way to get some cardio while also being gentle on the joints. Swimming impacts our brain because it involves crossing movements in our body, causing the right and left hemispheres of the brain to become connected and communicate with one another. Swimming engages both hemispheres of the brain as well as all four lobes at the same time. Increased cognition and easier learning are the results of this activation, connection, and communication of our brain’s hemisphere.
Yoga can change our brain structure, based on a study. The breathing practices related to yoga can increase alpha brain waves that then boost our brain’s creative function. The meditation involved in Yoga also boosts frontal cortical activity, which has been associated with increased attention, calmness, and concentration. It can even expand that portion of the brain with enough repetition.
Overall, yoga benefits our brain function and creativity through the integration of our mind, body, and soul. If you cant go out to a yoga studio, then you can try to start with these breathing exercises that you can do right at your desk.
There have already been numerous studies on the effect of exercise not just on our physical health also on our cognitive abilities and our creativity. As we become more technologically advanced and as new research is being conducted, we are getting more scientific evidence linking healthy physical activity to our brain function.
So, if being physically fit is not enough motivation for you to start moving, then you might consider the creativity boost and improved brain function benefit of daily exercise.