The brain and exercise

We all know it: exercise is good for us… and it’s good for our brain! What recent studies have shown is that specific forms of exercises are better for specific parts of the brain.

Physical health is not only good for the brain; it’s also been proven that it’s good for reducing the effects of such illness as dementia, Parkinson’s and depression.

To be more precise, we have studied high intensity intervals, aerobic activity, muscular conditioning, and yoga as well as sports sequences.
It was 15 years ago that, for the first time, we concluded that exercise affected the brain. Mice, while running, were forming new neurons in the hippocampus, which lead to an improvement in memory.

We then wanted to know if the type of exercise selected for a specific population had different effects. We compared muscular conditioning and fast walking. After 6 months, both groups showed better spatial memory.

More specifically, the group that was involved in muscular conditioning saw its executive functions improve significantly. These subjects had also seen gains in associative memory.

Those involved in fast walking saw results in verbal memory.

Only stretching as an isolated activity showed not improvement in any of the cognitive measures.

Learning sports sequences develops attention gradually over a longer period of time.

What’s also been found is that children that are healthy show both hippocampus and basal ganglia of greater size. When one considers that basal ganglia allow us to turn thoughts into things, it’s a very cool side effect of being fit!

What needs to be added to all of this is that, if in the context of performing these activities, the body is aligned and stable; it is better at both proprioception and exteroception.

Proprioception is being to feel its own body whereas exteroception is being able to feel the environment around us. Posturology improves both simultaneously, which allows for maximal brain stimulation!

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