A quick Google search for the mental benefits of exercise will yield you an exhaustive list of articles and other resources on the subject. It can be difficult to find time and motivation to fit in exercise and personal training while juggling the many demands of modern life! Many of our clients are busy working professionals juggling their fitness regimes with work, children, hobbies, and a host of other activities.
Mental Benefits of Exercise
We like to remind people that increasing their fitness and exercise regime actually has a ripple effect into other aspects of your life. We’ve created an abbreviated list of the benefits you will likely find most beneficial to your mental wellness, not just physical fitness!
In a study published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2011, it was found that the addition of physical exercise increased productivity in the workplace. In this study, the experimental group reduced their weekly working hours by 2.5 and replaced those hours with exercise.
The findings? They were able to accomplish more work during their reduced working hours by adding exercise than they were during a full work-week without exercise.
To prove that this was not simply an argument in support of reduced work-weeks, the researchers also had a group reduce their weekly working hours by 2.5 (the same as before) but they did not supplement with any exercise during that time. The findings were that the group that exercised during their reduced work week out-performed those who did not exercise.
Improved Brain Power & Memory
A 2012 study published in Physiology and Behaviour found that a tough workout can increase the amount of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) – a protein believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.
It has also been suggested that regular physical activity can boost the hippocampus – an area of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
Through this same mechanism, studies have shown that regular physical exercise can help to reduce cognitive decline in those over 45 years old. To have the best chance at preventing cognitive decline, researchers have suggested that one should begin exercising regularly as early as age 25. Of course, there are benefits to exercising at younger ages, but this is referring specifically to preventing cognitive decline (for example, Alzheimer’s Disease).
Do you work a job that required you to think creatively? Are you an author? Copywriter? An engineer trying to find an innovative solution to a new or old problem? A 1997 study published in the British Journal of Sport Medicine found that aerobic exercise boosted creativity independently of a person’s mood.
People are usually more creative when they’re in a positive mindset, but this proved that even if you’re in a crummy mood, a little bit of exercise can help boost your creativity!
Wondering how long this creative boost lasts? A 2005 study published in the Creativity Research Journal found that creativity is optimized for roughly 2 hours following exercise. To make the most out of this boost you should likely do your cardio right before you sit down to do your work.
Reduce Stress, and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
While I don’t think this is news to anyone at this point in time, it’s worth mentioning: it has been extensively documented that regular physical exercise can help to reduce stress, as well as symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety disorders.
People who exercise regularly reap all of the above benefits, and more. Could you benefit from increasing your creative output, improving your learning ability, reducing your stress levels, or increasing your productivity? The coaches at Innovative Fitness are able to help you design a personal training and fitness routine that works with your schedule, and helps boost your brain power! We’re here to support you in your fitness journey, and we believe that also means enjoying the mental benefits of exercise.
Professional Training Coach / Product Manager
Innovative Fitness – TELUS Garden
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