While we may know the value of exercise in improving overall physical and mental health, pictures are worth a thousand words. So we’re letting brain scans talk.
Image #1 is you and your brain, sitting quietly.
The pre-frontal cortex (the dark green bit at the front), which is responsible for reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language, is ticking over like an idling car.
The hippocampus (the peanut lit in blue) is the centre of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system and shows little activity. Much of the parietal and occipital lobes (the light blue and green bits), concerned with the reception and correlation of sensory information, are just shy of dormant.
Image #2 is your brain after 20 minutes of jogging.
It lights up like a Christmas tree.
Your frontal lobe activity increases, meaning what makes you you is on better form, your sensory and information processing activity has gone through the roof, and the middle third of your brain, or parietal lobe, is stimulated. This is the bit responsible for processing tactile and sensory information.
Why this is great is because your whole brain becomes more active and better at processing information. And better information processing leads to smarter, faster, clearer, more creative ideas, decision-making, problem solving and, well, you.
So go on then, pull on those dusty old running shoes.