Updated: Aug 25, 2022
By banging our heads and by ageing we lose neural connections in the brain. From our memories to our personality, neural connections make up everything about us so how can we keep them?
From looking through research reviews and articles, it seems we can form new neural connections through a process called Neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is when new neurons are formed in the brain. How can we make Neurogenesis happen? That’s right… EXERCISE!
How does it exercise build neural connections?
Exercise leads to Neurogenesis, neuro-protection and cognitive improvements as it creates chemicals called ‘Neurotrophins’. For all the nerds out there like me, Neurotrophins are proteins that help cell maintenance and cell function in our central and peripheral nervous system. Neurotrophins have been found to have therapeutic effects for those with a brain injury. This is because they play a role in Neuro development, survival and plasticity. Because exercise leads to the production of Neurotrophins it means that exercise creates new neurons which increases the volume of the brain, preventing cognitive decline.
What does it mean?
Researchers believe that this is groundbreaking for the middle-aged and older generations as it means they have the power to keep their memories and cognitive skills intact.
What exercises show the best results for producing Neurotrophins?
Scientists believe that variety is the key. Workout routines should include a mix of aerobic exercises (running, cycling, etc) and resistance exercises (weightlifting). Specifically aerobic exercises improve cognitive ability whilst resistance exercises improve executive function, memory and working memory. Your workout routine should also touch upon; improving balance, coordination and flexibility, so it’s time to join the circus! Consistency and commitment is also important. Research suggests that you should start seeing noticeable improvements in your cognition 6-12 months later.
Committing 6-12 months is AGES, right? Why not focus on getting a six-pack so you can look hot in summer pics? Well, the summer will pass and so will the years. And you will thank yourself for spending time nurturing your brain over your tummy, which inevitably will sag one day. Me personally, I’d rather a saggy tummy than a saggy brain.