cognitive function

Exercising for the brain

It’s hard to believe that the brain is a muscle, but it is! Just like any other muscle in your body, if you don’t work it out then it will get weaker. The same goes for your brain. If you want to keep your mind sharp and be able to think clearly as you age, there are some simple things that can be done on a regular basis that will improve your brain health. In this blog post, we will list some easy ways to help make sure that your brain stays healthy and strong!

Why exercise is good for your brain health

cognitive health

The question of when we will see a successful Alzheimer’s disease drug is a major topic in discussions about the future of healthcare. But, instead of playing a game of chance, why don’t we look at what we do know works to prevent dementia— improving your lifestyle? This essay is the first in a five-part series dedicated to evidence-based strategies for preventing dementia through lifestyle change. Let’s start with exercise.

How does exercise help your brain?

cognitive function
  1. Oxygen saturation and angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels) increase in the brain’s rational thinking, social, physical, and intellectual centers during exercise.
  2. Exercise reduces stress hormones and enhances the number of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which are known to speed up information processing.
  3. Excess sitting promotes cell and tissue damage, which can be prevented. When you sit for too long, your body produces chemicals called free radicals (oxidative stress) that can cause cognitive deterioration and mental illness. These free radicals are thought to impair the brain by causing inflammation in the microglia cells of the brain.

They help to be attentive

brain health physical exercise

Have you checked your Individual Alpha Peak Frequency (AFP) recently? Unless your physician thought you might have brain health issues like epilepsy or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s doubtful that you’ve done so. The IAPF (also known as the alpha peak frequency) is a test used to assess your capacity to concentrate and pay attention. It appears to rise after doing some rigorous exercises. This does not change much after performing activities in a “steady-state,” such as jogging or cycling at a leisurely pace.

They help with depression and anxiety

Anaerobic exercise is a wonderful tool for alleviating depression and anxiety that your physician or therapist may prescribe as therapy. This might be because exercise slows down brain cell damage and destruction. It could take months to see all of the benefits, so make it a habit to be active.

They will help to avoid Dementia

cognitive health

Those who do not exercise regularly have a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This is in part due to the fact that physical activity helps prevent many components of dementia, including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression

Furthermore, exercise has an immediate impact. Researchers can detect it. More white and gray matter of the brain and fewer injured tissues are all indicators of greater brain health.

They help you focus

thinking skills

According to a study, working out improves your capacity to organize and comprehend information as well as act in a reasonable manner – known as “executive function.” This process may be triggered by just one exercise session. In the long term, fitness appears to alter the white matter structure of your brain in such a way that connections may be made between brain cells.

Help you fall asleep

aerobic exercise

Exercising regularly can help you keep an even mood, de-stress before going to sleep, and establish a good sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). The specifics of the brain’s response to exercise are not always apparent, but individuals who engage in more activity tend to have better “slow” sleep.

Helps blood circulation

thinking skills

Aerobic exercise promotes blood flow to your brain. This is due in part to the fact that exercise improves the function of your heart and blood vessels, beginning with the larger arteries that supply blood to your head and culminating with the microscopic microvessels in your brain.

Strong blood vessels – as well as the enhanced blood flow they generate – appear to aid in the prevention of dementia plaque formation. Researchers also think that strong circulation aids in the brain’s nutrition, slowing mental deterioration. Scientists are still attempting to figure out how it works.

Make your brain flexible

aerobic exercise

Your brain’s plasticity is the capacity to alter as a result of learning and experiencing new things. The ability to grow neuroplasticity declines with age, but it can be found in people of all ages.

Both aerobic exercise and strength training, according to experts, appear to help the brain become more flexible or “plastic.”

Improve memory

physical exercise

Walking, jogging or gardening can serve to stimulate the growth of your brain’s hippocampus-the portion of the brain involved with memory and learning. It may also slow down hippocampal shrinkage that occurs as we get older.

According to certain research, enjoyment of what you do may enhance growth. So go out there and discover what you love.

How important is exercise?

better brain health

The typical requirements recommend 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. This is a wonderful beginning. However, doubling the amount may provide even more advantages to your brain. The length of each individual session also has an impact. According to studies, exercise classes that last 45-60 minutes provide some of the best benefits.

The lasting effect of exercise on cognition

aerobic exercise

In 2017, The Lancet published a landmark study on dementia prevention, treatment, and care that linked 35% of dementia risk factors to modifiable lifestyle behaviors. Important component: exercise.

According to Dr. Zhu of the University of Minnesota, a group of individuals were subjected to fitness evaluations in a longitudinal study. Those who had been very active in 1985 tended to retain their athleticism decades later. In cognitive assessments decades later, the same “healthy” group outperformed its peers.

Exercising also gives hope to those who are afflicted with a rare genetic defect that predisposes them to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Although exercise may not entirely protect them from their genetics, individuals who exercised for at least 150 minutes each week had superior cognitive outcomes than those who did not.

Incredibly, physical activity might help to delay the onset of dementia in people with Alzheimer’s disease by up to 15 years.

How does exercise reprograms the brain?

exercise affects

The brain is capable of generating new neurons, as we’ve seen. This is partly due to his neuroplasticity — the ability to continuously restore himself.

When a person learns a new skill, numerous interconnected neural networks form connections at various locations of contact (synapses).

The synaptic connection between neurons grows stronger with time if a person practices this skill.

“A firm connection between neurons implies that electrical signals can travel more efficiently when building or utilizing a new route,” say Kolb and Gibb (2010). “When attempting to identify a new bird, for example, new links are formed between certain neurons.

brain cells

Research by Schoenfeld et al. (2013) shows that exercise aids in the formation of neurons in the ventral hippocampus, thus those who exercise are able to better manage stress.

What is the hippocampus, and how does it work? The hippocampal region of the brain is where learning and memory are stored. It seems to be activated during physical activity.

The hippocampus of someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle is composed of youthful neurons. They may be thought of as “untrained” neurons, in that they are very excitable and light up easily when exposed to a little stressor.

When we are aware of our own emotional states, we have more options for coping and less stress in our lives. This can also lead to greater emotional discomfort than we should experience.

What is the best way to address this issue? To fortify healthy hippocampal neuronal connections, exercise is a component of the mix.

Neurons became excitable as a result of our basic “fight or flight” response.

What would happen if you went and spoke with a grizzly bear? Your body’s hormones and neurotransmitters will prepare you to flee or attack the grizzly.

To respond to this, we must first assess the situation and determine whether we should confront or flee from the perceived danger.

The fight-or-flight response is activated by a wide range of stimuli, some of which are neither harmful nor life-threatening. The release of neurotransmitters in the hippocampus affects rational thinking and emotional well-being, both of which can be tiring.

The same “fight or flight” response system is activated during physical activity, resulting in the same prerequisites that dampen the hippocampus.

brain cells

Why does exercise benefit the hippocampus when it still delivers a neurological cocktail to the system?

The main difference is that the development of neurons that occurs during exercise produces specific neurons that release GABA neurotransmitters, which Bergland termed “anti-anxiety molecules” in 2002.

The neurotransmitters responsible for enhancing calm are known as GABA. They slow down the firing of other neurons. In other words, they assist your brain in recognizing genuine danger from overly excitable neurons.

In a study by Schoenfeld et al., it was discovered that the majority of the neural formations are concentrated in the hippocampal ventral region, which is concerned with emotional processing.

This indicates that those who exercised frequently were better able to handle stress and keep their emotions in check.

Exercises, as a regular activity, train your brain to change.

Simply put, the hippocampus of active people is better adapted to cope with stressors.

FAQ

Which exercise is best for the brain?

The best exercise for brain health is one that challenges your body in a new way and keeps you interested. This could be anything from a new type of yoga to running or cycling. As long as it’s something you enjoy, you’re likely to stick with it! And the more regularly you challenge your body, the better your brain health will become.

How does exercise help the brain?

Exercise helps the brain by releasing neurotransmitters that improve mood and calmness. It also increases blood flow to the brain, which brings fresh oxygen and nutrients. Additionally, exercise can create new neurons in the hippocampus, leading to improved memory and emotional stability.

Can I target a specific area of brain health through exercise?

Yes! There are many different types of exercise that can improve different aspects of brain health. If you’re looking to improve your memory, try aerobic activities like walking or cycling. If you’re struggling with stress or anxiety, try yoga or tai chi. The most important thing is to find an activity that you enjoy and stick with it!

Is exercise good for brain function?

Yes! According to research, physical activity can help prevent and improve many health conditions related to the brain. For example, studies have shown that regular exercise could lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia by as much as 50%. It also may reduce symptoms for those already living with these diseases.

Conclusion

The human brain is one of the most complex structures in existence. It consists of billions and billions of neurons, which act like electric circuits that need to be powered up from time to time. Energy comes from the food we eat and oxygen inhaled through breathing exercises. If you exercise regularly your body will have more energy for all its organs including CNS (Central Nervous System). Regular physical activity also helps us overcome stress caused by external factors such as work or social obligations by encouraging the secretion of “happy hormones”. Moreover, regular exercising strengthens our immune system making it a great weapon against many diseases that are correlated with unhealthy lifestyle choices (e.g., cardiovascular disease). The list above shows how important aerobic activities can become if used wisely on daily basis.

Sources

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352154615000157?via%3Dihub
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4507374/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4255282/
  4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758%2Fs13423-012-0345-4
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20182027/

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