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How Exercise Affects The Brain

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What Can Physical Activity Do For Neurological Problems

How Exercise Affects the Brain

In 2013, the fifth edition of the DSM was published. In this manual, hundreds of psychological disorders are described, to help identify and alleviate a persons psychological struggle.

Historically, the manual has received criticism: what if disorders are just different expressions of the range of emotions and psychological states of human nature?

The National Institute of Mental Health also criticized how the manual tends to define disorders based on symptoms, not scientific data.

In the last decades, there seems to have been a surge in diagnosable illnesses: the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey conducted in 2014 revealed that each week in the UK, 1 in 6 adults experiences a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression.

The survey also indicated that 1 in 5 adults has contemplated committing suicide during their lifetime. Meanwhile, profits of big pharma companies have gone through the roof, competing with the profits of great banks .

While some people really do need medicinal help with mental disorders, other people might be suffering from their disorder and the manipulation of pharma companies profiting from their medicalized status.

Currently, much biological depression is eased by antidepressants, anxiety by benzodiazepines, ADHD by amphetamines, insomnia by benzodiazepines, and a range of other psychoactive drugs .

Berezin offers a fresh look: neurological imbalances need more assistance than these drugs offer. To him, these are human issues.

Essay On How To Stay Healthy

Exercising is a physical activity in which the body makes exertion in order to enhance physical fitness and health. By doing exercises it does not mean slow and simple walk however, it has to be in a way that the body start sweating. For instance, running and cycling are the important exercises that the human should do to ensure keeping the body healthy and fit. Therefore, find some time about 30 minutes per a day to do exercises.

Better Quality Of Sleep

Thirty-five to forty percent of adults in the United States claim to have issues with falling asleep or daytime sleepiness. However, one can achieve a better quality of sleep if they begin a regular exercise routine. A national study composed of over 2,600 men and women over the age of eighteen, determined 150 minutes of exercise each week presented a sixty-five percent improvement in the quality of sleep. Similarly, 150 minutes of exercise gave the individuals more energy throughout their day and increased alertness. As little as ten minutes of aerobic workouts each day, like cycling or walking can drastically improve the quality of sleep.

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Exercise And Neural Plasticity

Exercise-induced improvements in learning and memory have been associated with exercise-dependent neural synaptic plasticity and hippocampal neurogenesis . Long-term potentiation in a neurophysiological model of learning and memory was assessed in hippocampal slices from running mice. LTP in the hippocampal CA1 area showed no differences between running and control groups. However, a significantly greater LTP was shown in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of running mice compared to the sedentary mice . The enhancement in LTP following exercise is consistent with an increment of BDNF in the hippocampus, which can mediate neural plasticity .

Exercise may adjust the neural plasticity of the hippocampal dentate gyrus though the increased neurogenesis. Newborn granule cells may have a unique role in synaptic plasticity of the hippocampus, and the role of these cells can be increased with exercise . The enhanced plasticity was appeared in a specific time of maturation process and was dependent on increased synaptic expression of NR2B containing N-methyl-D-asparate receptors . Long-term depression is another type of neural plasticity. LTD induced by low-frequency stimulation is relatively unaffected by exercise . However, LTD depends on the activation of NR2B containing NMDA receptors in running mice . Thus, exercise may alter the contribution of NMDA subunits to LTD.

Moving With Others Builds Trust And Belonging

How Exercise Affects the Brain

In 1912, French sociologist Emile Durkheim coined the term collective effervescence to describe the euphoric self-transcendence individuals feel when they move together in ritual, prayer, or work. Moving with othersfor example, in group exercise, yoga, or dance classesis one of the most powerful ways to experience joy.

Psychologists believe the key to producing collective joy is synchronymoving in the same way, and at the same time, as othersbecause it triggers a release of endorphins. This is why dancers and rowers who move in synch show an increase in pain tolerance.

But endorphins dont just make us feel good they help us bond, too. People sharing an endorphin rush through a collective activity like, trust, and feel closer to one another afterward. Its a powerful neurobiological mechanism for forming friendships, even with people we dont know.Group exercise has managed to capitalize on the social benefits of synchronized movement. For example, the more you get your heart rate up, the closer you feel to the people you move in unison with, and adding music enhances the effect. Breathing in unison can also amplify the feeling of collective joy, as may happen in a yoga class.

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Getting Started With Exercise When You Have A Mental Health Issue

Many of us find it hard enough to motivate ourselves to exercise at the best of times. But when you feel depressed, anxious, stressed or have another mental health problem, it can seem doubly difficult. This is especially true of depression and anxiety, which can leave you feeling trapped in a catch-22 situation. You know exercise will make you feel better, but depression has robbed you of the energy and motivation you need to work out, or your social anxiety means you cant bear the thought of being seen at an exercise class or running through the park.

Start small. When youre under the cloud of anxiety or depression and havent exercised for a long time, setting extravagant goals like completing a marathon or working out for an hour every morning will only leave you more despondent if you fall short. Better to set achievable goals and build up from there.

Focus on activities you enjoy. Any activity that gets you moving counts. That could include throwing a Frisbee with a dog or friend, walking laps of a mall window shopping, or cycling to the grocery store. If youve never exercised before or dont know what you might enjoy, try a few different things. Activities such as gardening or tackling a home improvement project can be great ways to start moving more when you have a mood disorderas well as helping you become more active, they can also leave you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Angiogenesis And Vascular Growth Factors

Exercise influences brain vasculature. In particular, physical activity increases the proliferation of brain endothelial cells and angiogenesis throughout the brain . The growth factors insulin-like growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor have an important role in the angiogenic and neurogenic effects of exercise on the brain. Running enhances hippocampal IGF gene expression and increases serum levels of both IGF and VEGF . These factors also play an important part in hippocampal neurogenesis. Hippocampal gene transfer of VEGF and peripheral infusion of IGF-1 enhanced neurogenesis . Blockade of peripheral VEGF and IGF-1 inhibited the increase in neurogenesis observed with running .

The effect of plant polyphenols on angiogenesis might be superior to exercise . Human research shows that flavanols improve cardiovascular function and lower blood pressure . In addition, imaging studies in humans drinking a flavanol-rich cocoa beverage showed enhanced cortical blood flow . In mice flavanols enhanced hippocampal vascularization, especially in combination with exercise . It is of interest that both flavanols and exercise increase endothelial nitric oxide synthesis. Altogether, these findings indicate that a diet rich in plant products might stave off vascular dementia, especially when combined with exercise .

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Informative Speech On Exercise

As you know, exercise is very important for your physical health. Exercising regularly helps keep your heart healthy, lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes as well as some cancers, and helps you get stronger muscles and bones. This is common knowledge for most people, but what if I told you that exercise has even more benefits that arent just physical? Today I will be informing you about the benefits of exercise on your mental health, resiliency and academic performance.

The Role Of Nutrition

How Exercise Affects Your Brain

If you have decided to start exercising because you want to be healthier, thats great. But you are more likely to achieve long-term results if you combine activity with a balanced diet.

What you eat also has neurological impacts on your brain. Zeeni et al. found that specific diets, combined with exercise, increased BDNF signaling.

Abby King, a researcher from Stanford University, conducted a study lasting 12 months that involved 200 people whose diets and physical conditions were substandard to health recommendations .

For Kings study:

  • Participants were divided into groups, and each group was given counseling sessions on exercise and nutrition over a certain period
  • One group prioritized diet and was given four months of nutrition counseling, which followed with nutrition and exercise counseling for eight months
  • The second group prioritized exercise and began the study with four months of exercise counseling, which followed with combined counseling for the eight months that followed
  • The third group was given exercise and nutrition counselingsimultaneouslyfor the total duration of the study.

The results?

The two first groups managed to fulfill their priority goals, nutrition being for the first groups focus and exercise being the second groups focus.

But the only group that was successful long-term was the group using a combined nutrition and exercise approach to overall health.

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Overcoming Obstacles To Exercise

Even when you know that exercise will help you feel better, taking that first step is still easier said than done. Obstacles to exercising are very realparticularly when youre also struggling with a mental health issue.

Here are some common barriers and how you can get past them.

Feeling exhausted. When youre tired, depressed, or stressed, it seems that working out will just make you feel worse. But the truth is that physical activity is a powerful energizer. Studies show that regular exercise can dramatically reduce fatigue and increase your energy levels. If you are really feeling tired, promise yourself a quick, 5-minute walk. Chances are, once you get moving youll have more energy and be able to walk for longer.

Feeling overwhelmed. When youre stressed or depressed, the thought of adding another obligation to your busy daily schedule can seem overwhelming. Working out just doesnt seem practical. If you have children, finding childcare while you exercise can also be a big hurdle. However, if you begin thinking of physical activity as a priority , youll soon find ways to fit small amounts of exercise into even the busiest schedule.

Feeling hopeless. Even if youve never exercised before, you can still find ways to comfortably get active. Start slow with easy, low-impact activities a few minutes each day, such as walking or dancing.

Exercise And Ptsd And Trauma

Evidence suggests that by really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise, you can actually help your nervous system become unstuck and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. Instead of allowing your mind to wander, pay close attention to the physical sensations in your joints and muscles, even your insides as your body moves. Exercises that involve cross movement and that engage both arms and legssuch as walking , running, swimming, weight training, or dancingare some of your best choices.

Outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

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It May Help You Avoid Dementia

People who donât exercise much are more likely to get Alzheimerâs disease and other forms of dementia. Thatâs in part because exercise helps prevent many of the things that are linked to dementia, like:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression

But exercise has a direct effect as well. Scientists can actually see it. More white and gray brain matter and less diseased tissue are all signs of better brain health.

Exercise Is Especially Important For Kids And Young Adults

How Exercise Affects Your Brain

As you can see, there are lots of benefits to being active. Creating healthy exercise habits when youre young makes it easier to maintain those routines as you grow older. Consistent exercise through childhood and adulthood keeps brains healthy. Increasing evidence suggests that staying active as an adult can even lower your risk of dementia in old age. Its never too late to start exercising and keep your brain in tiptop shape!

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Exercise Can Sharpen Memory

There’s also scientific evidence that people who exercise experience improvements in episodic memory, which is our ability to bind how events, people and places come together in everyday life. Exercise can also benefit the brain’s spatial navigation, or the ability to remember everyday life events, like where you parked your car.

Exercise can also help people maintain their cognitive abilities as they age. Many studies have found that physically active elderly people perform better than sedentary elderly people on cognitive tasks such as reasoning, vocabulary, memory and reaction time. It’s known that regular exercise can prevent memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. Exercise can increase the brain’s ability to create new neurons in rodents, which can enable the brain to learn new information and improve memory. Whether adult hippocampal neurogenesis can be increased by exercise in humans remains to be determined, but there is a robust and growing body of research among school-aged children.

For people who have already been diagnosed with memory-related diseases, exercise is a commonly recommended intervention. Studies show that one year of activity interventions can increase the volume of the hippocampus the part of the brain that deals with learning and memory by one percent.

Can Exercise Improve Your Mood

Whether you achieve the so called ‘runners high’, or not, exercise has been found to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. A study in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology found that the antidepressant effect of running is due to more cell growth in the hippocampus.

Interestingly if you work out in a group, a study in the journal of Adaptive Human Behavior and Psychology found the brain will release natural pain relieving Endogenous Opioid System to help encourage social closeness. A good everyday example of this would be a rowing team that finds the strength to power through to the end of a race.

Exercise doesnt just boost your heart rate, help you sleep better and reduce stress, but it also improves your diet. A study in the International Journal of Obesity discovered in 2019 that the more vigorously a person exercises, the more they start to choose healthier foods. In a study of 2,680 sedentary adults, they found that the ones who started working out were more likely to choose nutritious foods, like lean meats, fruit and nuts, and less likely to choose fried foods, soda and snack foods. An additional study in the journal Appetite found that intense exercise even kickstarts appetite-regulating hormones.

So whether you like the idea of going for a run or not, its clear that a heart-pumping workout is a smart move. If you’re not sure where to start, though, we have a guide to how to get fit to start you off.

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Are There Any Negative Effects Of Exercise On The Brain And Its Chemistry

Best to do some low-intensity training just before, as well right after, a learning task.

Too much is too much. You dont want to put your body under chronic stress by overdoing it. There is an upper limit where too much exercise stops being helpful.

For example, if you were to do an ultramarathon, your cortisol levels might stay elevated, which may in turn temporarily freeze your memory functions.

For some strenuous exercises, there will be different effects on the brain at different times following your workout. For example, immediately after doing HIIT, you will probably feel quite exhausted, which means it might not be so good for thinking. Best to do some low-intensity training just before, as well right after, a learning task. However, one study demonstrated that if you exercise intensely, not right after, but four hours after a learning session your learning results are actually enhanced, However, more studies need to be done for these time buffers with exercise and the brain.

What Actually Happens To Your Brain When You Work Out

How Exercise Affects the Brain

Exercise can provide a way to maintain brain function, according to a study in the Trends in Neuroscience journal. The research shows that your session on the track or the treadmill increases the molecules in your brain that aid learning and protect against cognitive decline. Psychologist and mental game coach Dr. Delice Coffey adds that “Exercise helps new brain cells to grow. It aids in brain plasticity by stimulating the development of new connections between the cells and cortical areas of the brain.”

The rise in these molecules, known as a brain-derived neurotrophic factor , occurs in the hippocampus, which is the center for memory formation and learning. BDNF is a super-charged protein that helps keep brain circuitry intact. Those who have low levels of BDNF may suffer from Alzheimers, dementia, or depression.

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According to a study in the National Academy of Sciences journal the reason why people can start to suffer from impaired memory or dementia, when they get older, is because the hippocampus will naturally start to shrink as you age. However, a study by the University of British Columbia found that heart-pumping exercise increases the size of the hippocampus though you do need to be prepared to sweat it out as balance or resistance training exercises dont have the same effect.

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