The Brain and Exercise: The Effects of Exercise on the Brain

The numerous effects of exercise on the brain give enough reasons for one to get physically active. Exercise can affect the brain’s cognition, function, and structure. It is recommended that adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise every week. There are so many benefits of being active especially for kids and young adults. Once exercise habits are cultivated at a young age, they are hard to break and these habits are carried into older adult years.

Other athletic activities that alter brain structure and function are those that demand high levels of hand-eye coordination such as golf, gymnastics, and tennis.

What are the effects of exercise on the brain that your clients should know about?

1. Many studies have shown that physical activity which includes not just exercise alone but also sports can contribute to delaying brain ageing and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.

2. The body pushes more oxygen and blood to the brain during exercise, and this leads to improved blood flow, elevated oxygenation, and brain angiogenesis (growth of blood vessels).

3. Exercise can also improve mental health. As the body exerts itself, endorphins are released which helps to reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body. Once stress levels are reduced, this in turn leads to improved mood, improved sleep, and increased energy.

Types of exercises that affect the brain:

  • Aerobics – High Intensity Interval training (HIIT), steady state and recovery: These involve short bursts of intense exercise and low short periods of recovery. Push-ups, Sit-ups, Lunges. Crunches, Jumping jacks, High knees, Squats and others all fall into this category.
  • Resistance training: This type of exercise incorporates the use of weights. This is typically any exercise that contracts against an external resistance with the aim of increasing strength, body mass, and tone.
  • Low-intensity mind-body exercises: These include activities like yoga, tai chi, martial arts and so on.

However, just physical activity may not be enough. Combining normal exercise with Cognitive exercises have a stronger effect and help delay brain ageing. These cognitive exercises can include playing sports that require hand-eye coordination like baseball, table tennis, tennis, racquetball; dual tasking; exergaming; and cognitive motor training.

There is so much more on exercise, nutrition, and mental health that you can use to take your business to the next level. By becoming an Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor, you are uniquely equipped to help your clients (amateurs and professionals) reach their fitness goals by combining exercise with the science of nutrition.

During the certification, you will learn:

  • How to personalise nutrition programs for athletes and active clients
  • Science-based nutritional plans: per training volume, gender, weight, metabolism, athletic goals
  • Competition diets for peak performance (from short to prolonged events)
  • Help team sports, endurance, strength and power, bodybuilding, weight control
  • Hydration strategies used by elite athletes and world-class champions
  • Engineered sports products (from lite waters to protein shakes)
  • Food diary analyses and recommendations Advice from the International Olympic Committee and world-leading scientists

Get the full details and PDF curriculum download here.

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