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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.

The Exercise Effect On Daydreaming

Julia C. Basso, PhD Do you ever wonder what your brain does while you daydream?  The majority of adults daydream at least once a day and for many of us, this behavior occurs periodically through the day.  Daydreaming often occurs during our downtime or when we have a moment to rest.  From an outside

3 Exercise Tips to Prevent and Treat Depression

Sara Thompson, M.Sc. in Exercise Science The 3 Pieces of Advice: Go out and try something. The hardest step is the first one, but once you start exercising you will feel better and be more inclined to continue. Add some high-intensity exercise into your routine. Even a little bit of moderate or vigorous activity can

The Process Of Movement Between The Brain And Body

Julia C. Basso, PhD Did you ever wonder how we move?  The ability to move is an interconnected process between the body and brain.  As I have discussed before, the motivation to move is regulated by the reward circuitry of our brain.  But what actually happens when the brain gets the signal, “ok, let’s

Work Your Body And Mind To Combat Stress

Sara Thompson - M.Sc. Exercise Science In today’s fast-paced world, work accounts for the majority of stress in the United States (Aitkens et al., 2014). Stress leads to numerous mental and physical consequences such as irritability, depression, difficulties sleeping, pain, as well as numerous stress-related diseases (Wolever et al., 2012). In addition to these

4 Key Risk Factors For Concussions

Catherine O'Brien Last week’s article introduced the topic of concussion and addressed the role of sport participation in concussion risk. This week I am going to discuss some other key factors that increase risk for concussion. Risk Factors While it is clear that participating in contact sports and riding in automobiles increases risk of

Concussions in Youth Ice Hockey

Catherine O'Brien The brain is surrounded and protected by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A concussion occurs when the brain is jolted as a result of a blow to the head, quick acceleration or deceleration. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines concussion as “a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump,

Mindfulness – What Does That Even Mean?

Gillian White - MSc, PhD (Candidate), University of Toronto Mindfulness Part I. What does that even mean?? Clearing the mist around what mindfulness means and why it’s not just a trend. If you have a hard time reading this sentence without thinking about your to-do list or reaching for your phone – this one’s

A Healthy Dose of Neuroticism

Catherine O'Brien A Healthy Dose of Neuroticism The development of the 5-factor theory of personality, often deemed “The Big Five”, dates back almost 30 years. The theory, as discussed in Digman’s review of the model, holds that there are five major dimensions used to describe human personality- Openness, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extraversion and Neuroticism. Within

Think Positive Thoughts For A Better Workout

Julia Basso - PhD Does the way that you feel during exercise motivate you to exercise? Or on the contrary, do you avoid exercise because of the way you feel during your workout? I crave my workouts because of the way I feel, not necessarily during exercise, but certainly afterwards. I love that exercise

Exercise: A Magic Pill To Help Protect The Brain From Cellular Pathology

Julia Basso - PhD The opening statement in a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reads, “Pathology is not destiny” (Kuehn, 2015).  This statement is based off of a huge prospective study that followed 2,566 healthy, older adults (ages 65 years and up) for around 16 years.  During the study participants

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