How exercise benefits cognitive ability

Woman running‘No pain, no gain’ a few of my friends at the gym tell me. Some people like to train with weights, others with gymnastic machines, while others are simply training with aerobic exercises. But they all want to feel healthier and definitely look better after some months of exercising. We all know some of the benefits exercise can provide us. One is the significant reduction of the risk of cardiovascular diseases, strokes and so on. Exercise can also reduce insulin resistance and some researchers have shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Bust of PlatoHowever, fewer people seem to know the positive mental impact exercise can have on us. Firstly, at this point, we may look back in time to when ancient philosophers were arguing that exercise should be part of any educational system. More particularly Plato believed that a complete human being should train his mind by studying philosophy, geometry and mathematics, while at the same time, training his body. Plato believed that a trained mind can shape an opinion, a will, but a trained body can fulfil that will. Aristotle also believed that we the people should always seek to be in a symmetry, ‘mesotes’ as he called it. So, we should obtain a sharp opinion with a healthy body.

Nowadays, researchers have focused on this specific subject and have shown that during and after exercising, the mind releases hormones called endorphins. These hormones (which have a similar feeling in the body to morphine) interact with the brain to reduce stress and the symptoms of depression while at the same time improving the quality of sleep and self-esteem, creating the feeling of euphoria.

Exercise can also benefit our cognitive ability by improving our memory and thinking skills. And by joining a team, or committing yourself to a gym programme, you discipline yourself. Discipline is something of extreme importance to every aspect of modern life and very important to all of us international students who must determine an everyday working routine and then execute it perfectly. But discipline is also a key success to our work career. A schedule which is executed effectively and with determination is a key strategy for career success.

To sum up, exercising (both as a team or individually) can physically and mentally benefit us by improving both our health and our mind. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, the risk of showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease and mentally reduces stress and depression, improves our memory and helps us to be more disciplined and raise our self-esteem.

P.S: Hello all, my name is Eleni and this is my first article. I am very excited to be a member of this amazing student and alumni committee. So, in my first article I have chosen to write about one of my favourite hobbies, sports, and more generally exercising. I have a lot of hobbies, some of these are reading books, taking pictures, watching movies and writing reviews about them and so many more. I am studying BSc Economics and Politics with the UoL International Programmes/ LSE which is really a very interested field as it combines the two main forces of every modern state. So, I hope you have enjoyed this article of mine. You are very welcome to comment and get in touch with me. Again I am very glad to be here.

Eleni is studying the BSc Economics and Politics by distance learning in Greece.

Carr, David. “On The Moral Value Of Physical Activity: Body And Soul In Plato’s Account Of Virtue”. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 4.1 (2010): 3-15. Web.

Cold, Flu & Cough et al. “Exercise And Depression”. WebMD. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Dec. 2016.

Godman, Heidi. “Regular Exercise Changes The Brain To Improve Memory, Thinking Skills – Harvard Health Blog”. Harvard Health Blog. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Dec. 2016.

Hogan, Candice L., Jutta Mata, and Laura L. Carstensen. “Exercise Holds Immediate Benefits For Affect And Cognition In Younger And Older Adults.”. Psychology and Ageing 28.2 (2013): 587-594. Web.


11 thoughts on “How exercise benefits cognitive ability

  1. Truer words couldn’t be said about the vital importance of exercising. I find myself feeling much better and more confident when I’m able to commit to a regular exercise routine. I’m really glad to know that another fellow UOL student feels that way about exercise. Keep it up! 😊


  2. Hello Eleni,
    I am eternally grateful for this ‘fantabulous’ and educational article …it came at the right time to endorse my decision to restart my exercise programme after reaching the age of half century and one. Exercise does make a difference to my LLB study programme. Good job! Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!

    Joy Evelyn Abdul


  3. Spot on Eleni,
    I am just starting my program at UOL and regular exercise as well as studies are some of the disciplines that I hope will ferry me through success.


  4. Congratulations for your start :) I am sure exercising at regular basis will certainly help you descipline your studies as well. Wish you all the best :)


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