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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.

Exercise Increases Neurons in the Brain

Julia Basso - PhD Adult neurogenesis (i.e., the birth of new neurons in the adult brain) is a big thing in neuroscience.  For a long time, neuroscientists thought that new neurons emerged only during stages of early development.  In the 1960s, the discovery that new neurons continue to be born in the adult brain

Will Exercise Help the Brain Grow: Exercise and Ketones

Julia Basso - PhD Exercise and Ketones I am intrigued by the body-brain connection and am constantly thinking about how all of the physiological things that happen in our body from exercise like burning fat and building muscle contribute to exercise-induced improvements in cognitive functioning. One piece of the puzzle that I have written about

Fitness Helps Brain Function As We Age

Julia Basso , PhD Affiliation: Post-doctoral Research Associate, New York University, Center for Neural Science For the past 40 years, the world’s leading experts on learning and memory have gathered in Park City, Utah to discuss the newest and most exciting research on brain function: the brain’s ability to learn and remember information.  I

Exercise To Feel, Think, and Act Like a Young Brain – Part 2

Author: Julia C. Basso, PhD Affiliation: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Center for Neural Science, New York University Exercise To Feel, Think, and Act Like a Young Brain - Part 2 Gretchen Reynolds, an exercise blogger for the New York Times, recently wrote a post entitled, “Does exercise help keep our brains young?”  In it, she

Improving Cognition Through Exercise – Part 2

Contributed by Julia C. Basso, Post-doctoral Research Associate, New York University, Center for Neural Science Improving Cognition Through Exercise - Part 2 During the aging process, a variety of changes occurs within the brain. These changes include decreases in neurogenesis or new neuron growth, detriments in the vasculature surrounding the brain tissue, and deterioration in the

The Sprint to Slow-Down Brain Decline

Contributed by Sara Thompson, MSc, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Human Physiology Research Unit, University of Toronto As we learned from a recent FTG post by Fiona Callender, exercise can improve the cognitive decline that occurs with age. In her article, Ms. Callender highlighted the use of resistance training to improve cognitive function in patients

Brain Growth with Exercise

Contributed by Julia C. Basso, PhD, Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Center for Neural Science and New York University Brain Growth with Exercise The hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure located in the medial (middle) temporal lobe, is a brain area involved in learning and memory.  This structure is essential for the formation of our long-term memories as

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