Research has proven that exercise helps prevent cognitive decline and reduces the onset of dementia. Researchers have found a strong link between moderate to intense exercise and BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF is found in muscles and the brain.
Regular exercise stimulates the production of FNDC5, a protein that activates the production of BDNF. BDNF is a powerful protein that helps preserve existing brain cells, initiates conversion of brain stem cells into new neurons, and promotes brain growth, especially in the hippocampus. This region is responsible for memory.With age the Hippocampus shrinks, therefore reducing memory capacity. Exercise can help retain the size and function of the Hippocampus.
In addition, exercise helps preserve gray and white matter in the frontal, parietal cortexes, helping to prevent cognitive deterioration.
During exercise brain glucose is depleted, the hippocampus then searches for fat to use for fuel, this in turn will activate the release of BDNF improving cognition. This is why fats are so important in the diet and why people who exercise experience a sense of euphoria from exercising. Fat fuel ignites the brain into greater heightened awareness making a person more “clear minded.”
Exercising before studying or before working on complex problem solving (exams, taxes, etc.) can help improve your ability to process and remember key facts and problems.
Keep your brain healthy and growing with regular exercise. The exercise must be in the moderate to intense zone to reap this benefit. Low intensity exercise doesn’t initiate enough hormonal activation to do much good.
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