Have you ever been for a run and felt a release of natural endorphins in your brain that just made you feel great?
It’s that feeling you get when your legs are stretched, your head’s down and you’re starting to put the effort in and knuckle into the workout.
Those endorphins are what runners rave about when they talk about that unique feeling they get from a run. And it’s those endorphins which benefit your brain.
The chemical boost
When we exercise, it isn’t just our muscles that get a work out. Our brain cells are actually stimulated by the chemicals released too. These include adrenalin and serotonin, amongst others, and are hormones which help us in a number of different ways including:
- Stress reduction
- Added drive and power
- Happier thoughts
- A boosted immune system
- Promoting an active brain
This feeling is traditionally known as the runner’s high.
But it doesn’t just come from running
The Journal of Physical Activity recently published some incredible results from a study at The University of Illinois, which looked at the kind of impact yoga and its associated exercises would have on the mind.
In comparing these results with those from a traditional aerobic workout – like running – they found that yoga had an incredible effect on the brain. In fact, not only did the participants have significantly improved cognitive performance compared with before they’d done a yoga workout, they actually put the effects of running to shame!
Those runners only showed minor improvements, if any, in their thinking and analytical abilities. Those who’d done just 20 minutes of yoga, had more brain power. It was simple!
Make use of yoga!
The increase in brain power is obviously a huge benefit, just one more to add to the great effects that yoga can have on the body and on the mind.
Whilst the study focused solely on Hatha yoga, there’s no reason why all forms of yoga won’t have the safe effect, as you’re putting your body through the same movements and salutations, and practicing (in general) the same types of breathing and relaxation techniques.
So when you try out a yoga session at Gymetc, you’ll be giving your brain a workout too with:
- faster reaction times
- quicker skills processing times
- a better memory recognition
- improved accuracy
The long lasting effect
But there’s still more. These increases in brain functionality can be put to good use at work, because it’s long been known that yoga can help you focus more easily.
The research, after following participants activities into the day, found that the improvements mediation and yoga movements made to the brain had a long lasting effect throughout the day – far longer than the so called runner’s high.
In fact, this isn’t really a yoga high, because it’s not short lived. It’s more of a stimulation of your mind, an opening up and an awakening, unlocking the power of your brain.
So the next time you want to work out and go for a run before an important business meeting or a difficult task in the office, consider a little yoga session instead. All you need is a mat, 20 minutes, and some sun salutations!
Why not try out one of our yoga sessions at Gymetc, before or after work, and see what you think for yourself?