Exercise makes both body and mind healthy. However, little is known about how and where physical exercise affects the brain. Researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases have found that physical activity has a noticeable effect on almost every brain area. Also, in general, more physical activity increased brain volume or cortical thickness.
Lead author Fabienne Fox explains: “If previous studies have generally looked at the whole brain, our goal is to look at the brain a little more closely and find out which parts of the brain have the greatest impact on physical activity.”
The team used data from the Rheinland Study, a large population-based study in Germany. They looked at physical activity data and brain images from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of 2550 people aged 30 to 94 years. To collect data on physical activity, participants wore an accelerometer on their thighs for 7 days. MRI scans revealed details about the volume of the brain and the thickness of the cortex.
The greater the activity, the greater the effect.
- 0.1 The greater the activity, the greater the effect.
- 0.2 Areas of the brain that benefit the most
- 0.3 Exercise prevents
- 1 7 ways to build a young ‘brain’
As a result, the greater the physical activity, the greater the effect on brain regions. “We observed these effects, especially in the hippocampus, which is thought to be the regulatory center of memory,” Fox said.
However, the size of brain regions does not increase linearly with physical activity. The researchers found that the largest increase in brain volume was observed between sedentary and moderately active participants. This was particularly noticeable in the elderly over 70 years of age.
This can be a positive stimulus for people who are reluctant to exercise. A new study finds that even small behavioral changes, such as walking for 15 minutes a day or taking the stairs instead of an elevator, can have significant positive effects on the brain, potentially offsetting age-related loss of brain matter and the development of neurodegenerative diseases. because it suggests that “Especially the elderly may benefit from moderate increases in low-intensity physical activity,” the researchers said.
Studies have shown that the more active you are, the greater the effect. However, when a certain level was exceeded, even with a much higher level of physical activity, the beneficial effect revealed a trend toward leveling.
Areas of the brain that benefit the most
To find the brain regions that benefited the most from physical activity, the team searched the database for genes that were particularly active in the brain regions. “These were primarily genes essential for the functioning of our cells’ powerhouses, our mitochondria,” Fox said. This means that there are a large number of mitochondria in that brain region.
Mitochondria provide energy, which requires a lot of oxygen in our body. Therefore, more blood flow is required than other parts of the brain. Physical activity can increase blood flow. This leads us to guess how brain regions benefit from exercise.
As a result of bioinformation analysis, there were many overlaps between the expressed genes affected by physical activity and the genes affected by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This may explain why physical activity has a neuroprotective effect, the researchers conclude. Therefore, it is important to remember that as you get older, moderate physical activity can greatly benefit your brain.
The study was published in Neurology. The original title is ‘Association Between Accelerometer-Derived Physical Activity Measurements and Brain Structure: A Population-Based Cohort Study‘.
7 ways to build a young ‘brain’
You can prevent dementia by taking good care of your brain from a young age as well as as you get older. Here are 7 lifestyle habits to keep your brain healthy.
In order for the brain to function normally, a number of neurotransmitters must be sufficiently produced in nerve cells and released whenever there is a stimulus. Neurotransmitters that transmit important information are mainly made in the morning, at the beginning of the day’s activities. Therefore, it is necessary to activate the brain by consuming the energy necessary to move the brain through breakfast. If you skip breakfast, you will not have enough blood sugar, which is an energy source for your brain, and your thinking ability and concentration will drop. It is better to eat a diet rich in high-protein foods that keep you full for a long time rather than overeating.
Continue to learn
The nerve cells in our brain can maintain their function even if they are old, if they continue to be stimulated. This is because nerve cells in the brain function to transmit information, and if stimulation is not applied, they recognize that they are unnecessary and die. A research team at the University of Kentucky (2013) reported that bilingual older adults were able to distinguish colors and shapes faster and performed better on attention-transfer tasks than native-speaking older adults. Also, brain imaging showed that the brains of the native-speaking elderly did more work on tasks, while the bilingual elderly’s brains did more efficient task processing.
not only gives vitality to the body, but also stimulates the motor and sensory centers of the brain. This increases blood flow to the brain and activates the brain. Dr. Smith’s team from the United States studied the relationship between exercise status and the incidence of dementia in 126 dementia patients and 247 normal people. As a result, the group with a low amount of exercise had a 3.5 times higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease than the group with a lot of exercise.
Emotions also affect brain health. When you think positively and optimistically, the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for rational thinking, and the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory, are activated, and thinking ability and creativity increase. In particular, research has shown that cheerful people are far superior to depressed people in solving complex tasks. They were divided into a cheerful group and a depressed group, and they were given a task to solve a problem with the contents they read. As a result, the cheerful group had better problem-solving ability than the depressed group.
Create an environment that gives good stimulation
When you get older, you don’t move as actively as you did when you were young, and it’s hard to have a strong will. However, if you repeat the same life pattern every day, your brain will age. Therefore, it is necessary to expose the brain to a new environment that provides positive stimulation. Suh Yu-heon, director of the Gachon University Neuroscience Research Institute, placed mice in different environments and studied the effects of environmental influences on brain activity. One group played with toys in a large space and the other group played in a small room and exposed to various stressful environments to observe brain activity. As a result, mice that lived in a good environment had fewer neurons destroyed and improved memory. On the other hand, mice that were exposed to a stressful environment had a lot of nerve cells destroyed and their memory deteriorated.
Get a good night’s sleep, and
our brain stores the knowledge or skills we’ve learned over and over again while we’re sleeping when there’s no external stimulus. It converts short-term memory into long-term memory. Short-term memories are stored primarily in the hippocampus, and these memories can be easily erased by other stimuli. However, if you sleep before a stimulus, your memory is stored in the form of a solid protein and remains as a long-term memory. Neurotransmitters in the brain, which are depleted during the day, are also made during sleep. So, get enough sleep to keep your brain healthy.
Stop smoking and drinking
alcohol The nicotine in cigarettes harms brain health. Nicotine increases your heart rate, increasing the amount of oxygen your heart needs and constricting your blood vessels. When blood vessels constrict, it is difficult to carry oxygen to the brain normally. This increases the risk of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases such as vascular and Alzheimer’s dementia. Alcohol in alcohol directly damages and destroys brain cells. Drinking too much alcohol can have a toxic effect on brain nerve cells, and if you drink too much for a long time, cognitive function is impaired, memory is impaired, and in severe cases, it can lead to alcoholic dementia