Ask almost anyone why they take the time to hit the gym, and 99 percent of the time you'll hear something along the lines of "because I want to stay in shape," with the words "bikini season" mixed in. Well a new study reveals another benefit to living an active, fit lifestyle. A research team from the University of Illionois at Urbana-Champaign’s Beckman Institute concluded that being active may actually improve your cognitive function and brain health. How so? Well, greater aerobic fitness is associated with more fibrous and compact white matter, a type of nerve tissue connected to learning and brain function.
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This isn't the first study to detail the positive correlations between fitness and the mind. There's been research done proving that a morning workout can boost your efficiency throughout the day and even yoga can help crank up your brain waves.
So what else can exercise do, aside from give your brain an added boost (and of course, all the fit positives)? Check out these 3 other little-known benefits of exercise:
Assist with overcoming addiction: That runner’s high is real and you don’t have to get it from running. The brain releases dopamine, the “reward chemical” in response to any form of pleasure, and some people get addicted to it. With regular bouts of physical activity, recovering addicts can replace an unhealthy high with a healthy one.
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Influence creativity: Regardless of the mood you’re in, exercise has been shown to improve your creativity. Next time you’re stuck on a work project? Take a break, get some fresh air, and go for a walk. Sneaking in that extra added activity can supercharge your creative juices for up to two hours afterward.
Amp up social relationships: Not only can you strengthen existing relationships by working out with your your friend or partner, but attending group fitness classes or joining your local running club makes it easier to meet new people with similar interests. You may be surprised by the kind of people you meet at that post-work bootcamp class!
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