We all know that physical exercise is good for our bodies. There is now plenty of evidence that shows it’s good for our heads too.
The science shows that aerobic exercise allows for cognitive clarity, clear thinking to you and me.
There has been around 30 years of research in neuroscience to establish the link between aerobic exercise like running, and a healthy brain.
It turns out that after a run, new neurons are formed as a result of the exercise. They are formed in the hippocampus - the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
Exercise that makes you sweat for 30-40 minutes is enough for new brain cells to be formed. And it happens in all of us, not just younger people.
The British Medical Journal has also reported that: “Exercise is a promising strategy for combating cognitive decline by improving brain structure and function.”
This was after research showed exercise for older people improved their hippocampal volume. Brain power, put simply.
Research has also shown that running and other aerobic activity increases the blood flow to your frontal lobe. That’s good news because that aids planning ahead, clear thought and concentration.
There have been many occasions where I’ve pulled on my trainers and started running with a head full of problems. And then, by the time I get back home, I’ll have answers for some of them and the others will have proper context.
It’s not just clear thinking that makes running good for your head. It must be something to do with the increased blood flow, because going for a run makes me feel better too.
There have been many times where I go out for a run feeling grotty and out of sorts. Even a short run has boosted my mood and made me feel better about life.
So, running (and aerobic exercise generally) has been proven to be good for your head. But while the neuroscientists continue their research, I can confirm that it makes you feel better - I have the empirical evidence.
If you want to clear your mind or get clarity on a problem - go for a run, it works every time.