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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.

Go Forth & Be Mindful

Hank Shell Well, folks, 2017 is drawing to a close, there’s still no natural snow in my neck of the woods, and suffice it to say that spirits are dwindling here in the sere and barren mountains of San Miguel County, Colorado. Well, perhaps there’s a bit of holiday cheer going around, if you’re into

4 Areas Of The Brain That Benefit From Exercise

Catherine O'Brien Aerobic exercise has been proven to improve cardiovascular health and diminish the risk of heart disease and stroke. In the last decade, the role of aerobic exercise within cognitive and affective domains has become more prominent. Exercise has been shown to reduce mood disturbance, improve psychological well-being, and improve positive valence associated with

Exercise May Improve Brain Health In Adolescent Binge Drinking

Julia C. Basso, PhD Reporting from the 2017 Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting Exercise highlight 5: Voluntary exercise restores adolescent binge ethanol-induced loss of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons in adulthood (RP Vetreno, FT Crews) The adolescent brain is in a constant state of change and therefore has a heightened capacity for neural plasticity. Unfortunately, binge

Learning, Memory, & Decision Making

Julia C. Basso, PhD Reporting from the 2017 Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting Making good decisions requires memory. Take for example, the hangover (maybe that some of us are experiencing today after the reunion with some of our favorite science colleagues). We remember that the previous heavy night of drinking brought on this unpleasant state.

Yoga: A Mind-Body Practice That Improves the Brain

Contributed by Julia C. Basso, Post-doctoral Research Associate, New York University, Center for Neural Science Yoga: A Mind-Body Practice That Improves the Brain Yoga is an ancient Indian mind-body practice that focuses on both movement (asanas) and breath (pranayama).  It first came to the United States around the early 1900s, but it did not gain popularity

Rock Climbing Helps Control Emotions

Catherine O'Brien According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for individuals between the ages of 15-44. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) IV, MDD is characterize by depressed mood or loss of interest and /or pleasure in daily activities for more

Dancing Can Reverse Aging In The Brain

Julia C. Basso, PhD A healthy and functional brain requires healthy, intact cells that fire effectively. Action Potentials Neurons generate action potentials, which are the brain’s primary source of currency. Action potentials are electrical signals that travel down the neuron. When the action potential reaches the end of the neuron (the axon terminal), the

Leading the Way to a Smaller Waistline and a Bigger Brain

Contributed by Julia C. Basso, Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Center for Neural Science and New York University Smaller Waistline and Bigger Brain A constant regimen of aerobic exercise helps to fight obesity, decrease weight gain over time, and when we do enough of it, get a smaller waistline.  As we exercise and lose weight, another part

What Toxins Are Lurking In Your Brain?

Julia C. Basso, PhD As a scientist who studies the effects of exercise on the brain, I am always thinking about what exercise-induced factors (from muscles, bones, organs, brain tissue, etc.) cause the beneficial effects on brain function, like improvements in mood and cognition. Recently I started thinking about it another way. What if we

Lifestyle Recommendations To Prevent Cognitive Decline

Julia C. Basso, PhD Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases, and is characterized by problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. AD is progressive; symptoms worsen over time, with individuals eventually losing the ability to carry on tasks of daily living. AD results from changes in

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