Exercising For Brain Health
To many of us, exercising is all about achieving physical fitness. Well, it’s not so. Physical exercise also helps us maintain our mental fitness, by improving our neurological and psychological wellbeing. Studies conducted across the world have consistently proved that exercise improves cognition (ability to think and decide), self-confidence and overall quality of life and significantly decreases stress, anxiety and depression.
When you exercise, the blood flow in your brain increases, which in turn has a positive effect on your entire body. This includes:
• Increased availability and production of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body by relaying signals between nerve cells called “neurons’)
• Stimulation of brain monoamine
• Stimulation of neurotrophins (are a family of proteins that induce the survival, development, and function of neuron)
• Decrease in brain atrophy (loss of neurons and connections between them)
• Reduced inflammation
• Increase in brain plasticity (the ability of the brain to change throughout life)
• Neurogenesis (the process in which neurons are generated from neural stem cells) in the hippocampus (centre of emotion, memory and the autonomic nervous system)
• Increased neuron survival; helps recover faster from brain injuries
Exercise is also found to be a crucial element management of movement disorders like Parkinson’s Disease as it helps in strength conditioning, attaining better balance and improves the ability to release a contraction by around 30%.