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The Importance Of Regular Exercise On Mental Health.

945 words - 4 pages

It is now well known that regular exercise is very important for the overall well-being of our human body. It is now also well established by numerous researches that exercise can also improve brain function. This concept has been studied in the last ten years especially in aging adults (1). For instance, a study by Colombe and Kramer indicates that exercise improves brain function and it also lowers the risk of cognitive impairment when linked to aging. The causes of age-related cognitive impairment and decline can be researched in the processes that impair the health and functioning of living neurons. Exercise would increase the blood flow to the brain maintaining a steadier level of growth promoting an ideal neuron function. More specifically, the positive effects of exercise on the brain happen in a region called hippocampus (2).Potter and Keeling conducted a study aimed to better understand the relation between exercise and memory function. Their findings indicate that a brief period of moderate exercise is beneficial to improving memory performance on both short and long-term memory mechanisms. Regular bouts of exercise have been shown to improve brain functions, increase growth hormone concentrations and neurogenesis in the hippocampus. The study by Potter and Keeling suggest that periods of timed and short exercise can improve memory function and significantly reduce the effects of daytime circadian rhythms on memory performance (3).A different but still interesting approach to brain function/improvement, has been taken by Davis, Alderson, and Welsh. They have researched and studied the role of nutrition in relation to nervous system fatigue. They focused on the neurotransmitter serotonin because of the role that it plays in depression, sleepiness, and mood. By altering and increasing the metabolism of brain serotonin, they noticed an increase of physical and mental fatigue during endurance exercise. Linking this study with last week’s topic, it was also mentioned that CHO intake might attenuate increase of serotonin and improve performance. However, it is clearly indicated in the study the difficulty of distinguishing between the effect of CHO on the brain and those on the muscles themselves. There is a good amount of data that supports the positive role of CHO on the brain and the positive role of serotonin when related to central fatigue (4).According to Fox, in 1999, there were already several hundred studies about the relation between exercise and mental disorders. The power of exercise as a therapy for clinical depression or anxiety has been tested and positively confirmed. Physical activity is a tool for improving quality of life through enhanced self-esteem, improved mood states, reduced anxiety, or improved sleep. He also indicates that there is enough evidence to confirm that those who become or remain active or fit are less likely to suffer clinical depression. Self-esteem is an important aspect to take in consideration...

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