You remember that in mental health, exercise was one of the effective strategies for reducing stress levels. Almost everyone is aware of the importance of exercises now. But normally when exercise is recommended we think about our body, our heart, and our muscles. From a brain health perspective, exercise helps with lowering the risk of dementia, depression and helps to improve cognitive functions. Lots of benefits to the brain as well! Different exercises impact different parts of the brain, so it is important to keep up with a variety of exercises.
Exercise can help with the increased brain blood flow towards vital organs such as the brain, and increased neurogenesis, the formation of new brain neurons.
Studies have shown that exercise impacts the generation of new neurons in aged animals.
This impact is through the increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF). BDNF has been referred to as a fertilizer for your brain. It is a substance that is found in our brain and helps to maintain the life of our brain cells, as well as to grow new ones.
Physical activity can significantly lower the negative effects that chronic stress can have on the body thereby imparting some degree of stress resistance.
What to do?
Although the level of exercise and intensity of exercise depends on the age category and level of each individual’s fitness, it is important to adopt an active lifestyle overall. That does not mean sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours and doing 30 mins work out at the end of the day. Go for more frequent breaks during the day.
Take a more active option when you want to hang out with your friends? Go for a hike together rather than having dinner with sitting for a couple of hours. Do you want to watch TV? Stretch while watching TV.
Other than these subtle changes, a variety of exercises from high intensity to stretches, coordination exercises such yoga, sports such as table tennis are great for boosting your brainpower. Consult with your Drs and physiotherapist if starting a new exercise regimen.
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