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Brain Health & Exercise

Brain health is your mind’s ability and capacity to learn, remember, concentrate and keep active. A healthy brain regularly manages logic, perspective, and information processing. As we age, our brain’s cognitive functioning diminishes and these processes slow down. Fortunately, exercise can play a huge role in not just slowing this process down, but can actually improve brain health.

How Exercise Improves Brain Health

Long-term exercise and high levels of cardiovascular fitness are both associated with increased size of the hippocampus, striatum, and prefrontal cortex– an indication that physical activity promotes the growth of new neurons throughout the human brain. The greater your fitness level, the better you are at learning and remembering information. This is especially true if the task being performed depends on the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is involved in executive functions including attention, short-term memory, problem-solving and planning. Additionally, physical activity has been proven to help stave off cognitive decline as well as improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

 

Brain Health and Exercise- What Exercise is Best?

Research has shown reaction time improvements following bouts of both continuous aerobic exercise (such as 20 minutes of jogging) and high-intensity interval training. Brain health and cognitive functioning can benefit from either style of exercise.

Does Aerobic Exercise Improve Learning?

This article was adapted from a combination of speeches given at the European Sports Science Conference 2018, most notably Einat Kodesh (UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA, ISRAEL).  Dayton Kelly Exercise has demonstrated numerous benefits to cognitive function and memory. Interestingly, it is becoming increasingly apparent that brief periods of aerobic activity can improve our capacity to learn

Three Types of Exercise for Reducing Anxiety

Catherine O'Brien Most of us have experienced anxiety at one time or another. Whether it be jitters about starting a new job, increased heart rate before a big presentation or exam, or general uneasiness and nerves when the clock strikes 5 pm on a Sunday and the weekend comes to a close. While these

4 Ways to Overcome Sports Performance Anxiety

Alyssa Bialowas Competition anxiety is common in athletes, especially if they struggle to deliver performance. It’s the feeling of stress and pressure right before a competition that can be harmful to athletes and if it’s bad enough, can even lead to an athlete dropping out of a competition altogether. With the high amount of

3 Benefits of Exercise and Mental Health

Alyssa Bialowas The Mental Benefits of Exercise While the physical benefits of exercise are well documented, there are numerous mental health benefits of exercise. If you’ve ever left a workout feeling on top of the world, you’ve experienced the mind-body link, but did you know physical exercise can also improve your mental health? Approximately

The Surfing Affect on Mood and Well-Being

A Review by Alyssa Bialowas Exercise-induced affect (EIA) is a cycle that includes various characteristics of physical activity and is often composed of positive affect, negative affect, tranquility, and fatigue (Crussemeyer et al., 2017). EIA has been explored in the recent past but has focused on mainstream land sports such as running, walking, and

Everyday Tips To Be More Mindful

Gillian White - MSc, PhD (Candidate), University of Toronto Mindfulness Part II. Everyday tips to be more mindful. As I discussed in the previous article, Mindfulness Part I, the pursuit and practice of mindfulness has a wide variety of benefits relating to your health, happiness, and productivity. In this day and age, where your

Do Younger & Older Brains Respond Differently To Dance?

Aga Burzynska, PhD Dance – as a ritual, therapy, and leisure activity – has been known for thousands of years. Today, dance is increasingly used as therapy for cognitive and neurological disorders such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease. Yet, the effects of dance training on the brain, such as in young professional dancers, are

Which Is Better For The Brain – Long Duration Or Short High Intensity Exercise?

Catherine O'Brien High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that utilizes “repeated bouts of short-to-moderate duration exercise at an intensity of 85-90% of peak oxygen uptake or 90-95% of peak heart rate (HR)” (Kao et al., 2017, p. 1336).  This form of exercise has gained popularity as of late due to its

3 Strength Exercises For Individuals With Essential Tremor

Catherine O'Brien Essential tremor (ET) is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary and rhythmic shaking. Typically, tremors occur in upper extremities such as the hands but tremors can exist in other body parts as well (Mayo Clinic, Aug 2017). Individuals suffering from essential tremor experience disturbances and difficulties in completing everyday tasks such as feeding

The Jury Is Out | The Best Exercise for Parkinson’s Disease

Gillian White, MSc, PhD (C) University of Toronto, Graduate Department of Exercise Sciences Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition affecting 2% of the population over 70 years of age – roughly 6 million people worldwide (Pringshein et al., 2014). It is characterized by the death of brain cells in the basal ganglia, particularly those

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