After being stuck inside for hours working, your evening walk might leave you feeling a lot more clearheaded. This feeling is not in your mind, it really happens. Growing evidence suggests that we learn and think between when we take a walk or do some other type of exercise. However, why this is the case is not yet understood.
One of the reasons why doing exercise improves cognition is to do with blood flow. Studies have shown that when we partake in exercise, blood flow and blood pressure increases all around our body, including our brains. More blood leads to more oxygen and energy which, in turn, helps our brain to perform better.
Another reason why it is thought that exercise improves our mental ability is that the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning is extremely active. When the neurons that can be found in the hippocampus become active, studies have shown that our cognitive ability improves. For example, experiments that have been carried out on mice have shown that running improves spatial learning. Other more recent studies have shown that exercises can reverse shrinkage of the hippocampus, which is something that occurs naturally as we get older, meaning that aerobic exercises such as walking can improve the memory of older adults.
The main question of why us humans evolved in a way that we receive a mental boost from exercise is one that has yet to be answered. When our ancestors exercised it was probably because they were chasing their next dinner or protecting themselves from a dangerous predator. During these emergencies, extra blood in the brain probably would have helped them to react faster and cleverer to a threat or prey item. So, if you find yourself with a bit of a mental block, go for a walk or a jog, and there is a good chance that you will be pulled from your funk.
Gambling is very popular in the United Kingdom and it is a hobby that requires a clear head. If you start gambling when your head is in a bit of a mess, then it is highly likely that you are going to end up placing a bet that you will later regret making. For example, you could end up putting more money than you can afford on an outcome that really has very little chance of happening.
Therefore, if there is a sporting event that you would like to bet on, but you are not in a correct frame of mind, try going for a little stroll around your neighbourhood to clear your mind. When your head is totally clear, go and place as many bets as you like as there is a good chance that you will be placing some educated bets. Okay, you might still end up losing, but at least you know it was not because you made a bet when your head was not in the game.