Exercise Can Help You Maintain Concentration
People these days are constantly “plugged in.” Through devices like smart phones, computers, tablets and more, we are constantly being inundated with information from everywhere. As a result, it can be difficult to concentrate. Those who suffer from anxiety disorders may be even more “scatterbrained” at various times throughout the day, since difficulty concentrating is a common symptom. For everyone who may find themselves in the midst of the “brain fog,” regular exercise may be the key. Studies are showing regular exercise releases chemicals in the brain that may help with memory and concentration.
Exercise Lowers Stress Levels
The benefits of regular exercise are endless. One of them is that exercise reduces stress levels. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function.” Reducing your stress levels can help you maintain your focus, since you will not likely be fixated on stressful situations.
Choosing A New Type Of Exercise Can Help Build Your Brain
Scientists researching the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia often advocate learning new skills to enhance the connections within your brain. The same premise holds true when it comes to improving concentration. Changing up your exercise routine may help build your concentration. If you’re always in the gym, try taking a dance class or learning a new sport. HelpGuide.org, a non-profit focused on mental health and wellness, advises, “Physical activities that require hand-eye coordination or complex motor skills are particularly beneficial for brain building.”
Exercise Stimulates Your Brain
Recent studies have show that exercise has the potential to change your brain. Harvard Health Publications, published by Harvard Medical School, explored this idea on its blog: “…researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.” By affecting the part of your brain associated with memory, exercise can help you bust through your typical afternoon “brain fog.”
Improving Brain Function Doesn’t Take A Lot of Exercise
For people who are sedentary most of the time, starting an exercise routine can be a daunting task. But the same study cited in Harvard Health Publications advises that it’s not necessary to exercise strenuously for long periods of time to get the benefits. “The study participants walked briskly for one hour, twice a week. That’s 120 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week. Standard recommendations advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week.” If you find yourself getting foggy at work, take a break and take a walk to help boost your focus for the rest of the day.
If you’re already working out regularly, you can probably stick with your routine, and are likely benefiting from it. However, if you aren’t currently working out regularly, it’s best to start out with small goals. After all, nobody hops right off the couch ready to run a marathon. Set small goals such as committing to walking for 15 minutes a day for a week, and increase your activity level as your fitness level improves. Take the time to warm up, cool down and stretch to minimize the risk of injury.
For those with anxiety and those who are simply stressed out from everyday life, regular exercise can help you manage stress levels and the brain fog that often accompanies them. Make a goal to incorporate more exercise into your life, and you may find yourself more sharp and focused as a result.