Not only does exercise benefit the body, but it ‘lights up’ the brain in areas that process everything from memory to emotion. When the brain is scanned during cycling it shows acute proliferation in electrical activity within the prefrontal cortex, the striatum and the hippocampus – the key emotional processing areas of the brain. This accounts for the way that exercise makes us feel good!
Exercise also helps to release BDNF, a protein which is essentially a brain fertiliser that helps new Brain cells to grow!
Brendon Stubbs, clinical academic at Kings College London says ‘Until now, we have neglected the importance of small incidental walks away from the desk or couch but even short bursts of activity can have a real beneficial impact on mental health.
‘We consistently see a link between sedentary behaviour and an increased risk of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. In one study we found that changing an hour of sedentary behaviour to moving per day reduced the risk of depression by 10 percent. Research shows that depression can be an inflammatory condition which is frequently found in people with depression’.