You might have heard that exercise and physical activity can help you live longer, but did you know that it can actually help to slow down the brain atrophy that happens as you age and helps to improve neuroplasticity? This can help us to learn and improve on more skills and may help to prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. So, how does this process work:
What Is Neuroplasticity?
Firstly, let’s take a look at what neuroplasticity is. Neuroplasticity is the ability that neural networks in the brain have that allow for growth and change. Throughout our lives, neurons make new connections in our brain as we learn new things, and as we age, our brain removes connections that are unimportant and strengthens the necessary ones. Basically, as we age, our brains can reorganise the connections and structure of themselves, allowing for improved reactions to situations, the learning of new skills, and constant neurological development. Neuroplasticity is, therefore, very important; as without it we are unable to handle new situations and our brain function may begin to decline with age as the brain is not able to stay on top of neurological changes.
How Does Exercise Help?
When we work out or perform any kind of physical activity, we increase the blood flow to our brains. Studies suggest that when this occurs, biochemical changes are made in the brain that promote neuroplasticity, and subsequently, new connections in the brain, as well as creating more brain cells. It is suggested that with an increase in physical activity, you can improve your cognitive performance and slow the process that normal ageing has on your brain. It may also, as suggested above, help with the prevention (or improvement) of diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease. In one study, just two months of exercise vastly improved the production of brain cells in Parkinson patients – and it is suggested that by remaining active throughout your life you may decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
How Much Exercise And What Kind?
As mentioned above, it is important to be active from a young age to get the best results for your brain health in later life, but any amount of exercise at any age is a positive for your body. However, in terms of specifics for the best results, various studies centring on the topic of brain health, suggest that aerobic exercise (even just walking) is the best option and you should be aiming for at least 30-60 minutes a day, at least three days a week.
Exercise has so many overall benefits for your life. If you would like to teach others how to reap these benefits for themselves, then you need to do our Personal Training Diploma. Follow this link for more information.