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aging | exercise | mental health

The 6 ways fitness helps your brain

May 11th, 2022 | 4 min. read

The 6 ways fitness helps your brain

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Everyone knows that it’s important to work out.  With age comes a decline in the functional fitness levels of most people, including a loss of flexibility, strength, and muscle tone.  These lacks can lead to a loss of overall health and wellness as well as injury.  But, did you know that a lack of physical strength and ability can also cause a decline in your brain’s health?  Read on to see the 6 different ways that fitness can help to keep your brain young and healthy.  When you are looking for a social club where you can engage and work on keeping fit, checking on the availability of fitness options that fit your needs makes sense.  But you may find even more reasons to include these options when you see how your brain can benefit too!

Improved flow of blood to the brain

Pickleball looks like a lot of fun to play, and there are certainly physical benefits to joining the craze to learn the fastest-growing sport in the nation for the past 3 years.  Whether playing singles or doubles, you’ll be running around the court, which helps to boost the flow of blood to the brain.  This boost will increase the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain, keeping the brain actively functioning long after the game is over.  Even better, this quick transition to speeds and rest can help the blood flow to the front of the brain, where attention span and decision-making skills are made.  So the more you play, the more likely you are to have the patience to make the right shots! 

Increase the gray matter 

The physical activities that require planning and focus, like enjoying a great tennis game, can help to actually increase gray matter within the brain.  Ask any tennis player, and they’ll tell you that the best players are already thinking of shots ahead of the ball in front of them.  That foresight, coupled with the hard work in determining an opponent’s weaknesses, helps build even more ability to evaluate the moves and options in front of you.  And that just helps to keep you battling on the court even longer! 

HIIT and your cerebellum and hippocampus get stronger 

When you engage with your team in a TRIBE season, all of your faculties will be challenged. Footwork, counting, timing, coordination, and memory can all feel the burn in each workout.  But your brain is feeling the burn too.  The cerebellum, located in the bottom of the back of your brain, keeps your cognitive awareness and processing speed up and running.  The more you activate these processes, the more the cerebellum can get stronger. 

 

The hippocampus also gets stronger by getting moving in a tough class.  The part of the brain that helps form memories, the hippocampus can actually become larger (like your biceps!) when you are focused on aerobic challenges.  Determining the quick count of 100 jump ropes, followed by discerning a straight crawl from a chimp or alligator crawl can be a challenge to your memory.  Working through only makes your hippocampus fitter!

All about the feel-good mood 

Enjoying a heart-pumping group exercise class with several friends allows more natural mood-enhancing benefits to your brain.  The neurotransmitter serotonin helps your brain to balance your mood, keeping you in a better mood more often.  There are countless studies showing that engaging in regular exercise and physical activities can help to alleviate depression and anxiety, which have been on the rise for many during the two years of the pandemic.  Consistently sticking to an exercise routine can compare to antidepressants and for many therapists, the encouragement of activity to help aid in anxiety disorders is common.

 

 

Keep that cognition strong

All physical activity, from court to gym, from high intensity to low and controlled, is useful in the ongoing battle to keep from cognitive decline and can even help to stave off dementia.  This type of benefit to the brain that comes from weekly routines of physical activity can also include improvements in sensitivity to insulin at varying levels, as well as heart health, inflammation in the body, and even the body’s response to stress and stressful situations. 

 

Social fitness keeps the brain from aging 

Belonging to a social club helps to engage in healthy connections in many different ways.  The bonding that comes from your private club friends and families can be strong, and continued interaction helps to combat loneliness.  Especially while people continue to emerge from two years of limited interaction with others outside the immediate circle, finding ways to continue to boost social engagement can fight feelings of isolation and depression.  

 

Whether you find your social bonding on the pickleball courts in drop-in play every week, in the weekly Liquid Cardio classes in the pool, in the over 60 group exercise classes held in the outdoor pavilions, or just hanging out at the Clubhouse, Paseo Club is the place to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle.  


If you have any questions about becoming a member of the Paseo Club, you can reach out to the membership department at membership@thepaseoclub.com. The team will happily help you to find an event that you can enjoy to see how a social club connection can add to your life.