When you skip your workout, a growing gut isn’t the only bad thing that happens to you. When we exercise, more brain cells are activated than when we’re doing something else.
Here are a few ways your mental capabilities suffer when you don’t hit the gym.
1. Your mood may plummet
Studies suggest that cardio can just be as effective at boosting your mood, as prescription antidepressants. When you exercise, your body produces endorphin hormones that make you feel good, along with other happiness inducing chemicals like serotonin, nor-epinephrine, dopamine, endocannabinoids and more.
Recent research suggests that the production of a certain type of protein, called myokines, helps to protect the brain from developing stress induced depression which can potentially be triggered by working out and exercising.
So you miss out on the influx of these mood boosters when you stop exercising which may result in you feeling down. Some researchers also showed that when 40 regular exercisers stopped working out for two weeks, they scored worse in a mood test that measured tension, depression and anger than those who continued to work out.
2. Your memory may falter
When researchers scanned the brains of fit older athletes, they found out that blood flow to the athletes’ brains dropped significantly after a 10-day exercise hiatus.
The reduced blood flow in this study wasn’t linked to any declines in brain function. Though, less blood flow has been linked by some researchers to the hippo-campus to mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s diseases. It could be that the decrease in blood flow makes it more difficult to learn or develop new memories.
3. You may become less sharp
In a study, scientists rounded up 10 pairs of identical male twins who exercised regularly. While one twin in each pair exercised less, the other stayed active, working out twice a week.
The more active twin had more gray matter after three years. Gray matter is the tissue in your brain that is the key to processing information, unlike their less-fit twins.
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