The brain is often described as “like a muscle”. It is a comparison that supports the brain training sector and keeps school children in the office. We believe that literacy and numeracy exercises are more beneficial to your brain than running, playing and learning on the go.
But the brain-muscle analogy doesn’t work well. To build your biceps, you can’t help but flex them. When it comes to your brain, an oblique approach can be surprisingly effective. In particular, working on the body’s muscles can be beneficial to your brain power.
Brain training: should you believe the hype?
Scientists show that the high of the corridor and the calm of the yogi have profound effects on his brain. In addition, specific physical activities can significantly alter its structure with precision.
A wave of studies is emerging that explores the unexpected links between the physical and mental forms of laboratories. This research can give you the impetus to be more active. It can also help you choose the best ways to physically prepare for mental challenges, such as exams, interviews and creative projects.
Improve your memory
The part of the brain that responds strongly to aerobic exercise is the hippocampus. Well-controlled experiences in children, adults and the elderly show that this brain structure develops as people get in shape. Because the hippocampus is at the heart of the brain’s learning and memory systems, this discovery partly explains the effects of improving memory by improving cardiovascular fitness.
In addition to slowly improving your memory hardware, exercise can have a more immediate impact on memory formation. German researchers have shown that walking or cycling during, but not before, learning helps to maintain the new vocabulary of foreign languages. So exercise while checking. However, don’t push too hard: vigorous exercise can increase your stress levels, which can weaken your memory circuits.
Improve your concentration
In addition to making memories more difficult, exercise can help you focus and focus on the task. The best scientific evidence comes from the assessment of schoolchildren, but the same probably applies to all of us. The 20-minute interspersed aerobic exercise classes improved students’ attention span in Dutch schools. Meanwhile, a large randomized controlled study in the United States examined the effects of daily sports classes after school hours for an academic year. The children, of course, got in shape. Less predictable, his executive control has improved. They have become more adept at ignoring distractions, multitasking, and maintaining and manipulating information in their minds.
And if everything looks like hard work, you may not need to run out of steam to enjoy the effects of exercise. Just 10 minutes of playful coordination skills, like jumping two balls at the same time, improved the attention of a large group of German teenagers.
Improve your mental health
I love it or hate it, periods of physical activity can have a powerful effect on your mood. The runner’s run, that euphoric feeling that follows intense exercise, is real. Even rats understand that. However, this may not be due to “endorphin fever”. The levels of opioids at home increase in the bloodstream, but it is not known how much endorphin actually enters the brain. Instead, recent evidence points to a pleasant, pain-relieving plan for the endocannabinoid system: the psychoactive cannabis receptor.
How anxiety transforms your brain and prevents you from learning
And yoga? Does it really help with stress? When your anxiety level increases, you become tense, your heart races, and your attention falls off. This transition to “fight or flight” mode is automatic, but that does not mean that it is completely out of your control. Yoga teaches deliberate control of movement and breathing in order to activate the body’s “relaxation response”. Science increasingly supports this claim. For example, a 2010 study put participants into eight weeks of daily yoga and meditation practice. In addition to reducing self-reported stress, brain scans showed a reduction in part of his tonsils, a deep brain structure that is heavily involved in the treatment of stress, fear and anxiety.
Exercise is also becoming a promising way to overcome depression. A 2013 meta-analysis cautiously indicated that aerobic and resistance exercises were “moderately effective” in treating depressive symptoms. Surprisingly, exercise seemed to be as effective as antidepressants and psychological treatments. The study authors identified it as an area that requires more rigorous research.
Improve your creativity
Thoreau, Nietzsche and many other creative types said that walking gives wings to your imagination. Psychologists gave this empirical support last year. Walking, whether on a treadmill or around Stanford’s green campus, reinforced divergent thinking – the element of creative thinking that moves freely and generates ideas. However, this did not help convergent thinking. So, if you’re having trouble finding a unique solution, inactive driving may not be what you need.
Decreased cognitive decline
The evidence that staying in good shape keeps the brain healthy during old age is particularly compelling. The most concrete is the link between aerobic fitness and cognitive preservation. Exercises should also not be extreme: 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking three times a week can help prevent mental depression and delay the onset of dementia. However, it is worth getting used to regular exercise earlier. The protective effects are clearer before the cognitive signs of old age appear.
It is also not about your heart and lungs. Exercises to improve balance, coordination and agility had a clear impact on the brain structure and cognitive function of a large group of elderly Germans. Two weekly weightlifting sessions can have a visible neurological impact. Dance can also be restorative for the aging brain. One hour of dancing a week for six months did little to contribute to the aerobic capacity of older participants, but physical and social stimulation increased their cognitive well-being.
Researchers are still discovering the critical factors that make exercise such a powerful brain tonic. The main suspects are increased blood flow to the brain, waves of growth hormones and the expansion of the brain’s blood vessel network. It is also possible that exercise stimulates the birth of new neurons. Until recently, few people thought it could happen in the adult human brain.
Do not stop
Cognitive excess of exercise reminds us that our brain does not work in isolation. What you do with your body affects your mental faculties. Sitting all day, every day is dangerous. So don’t hesitate in what form of exercise you do. Find something you like, then get up and do it. Okay, I’ll like it.