Does Your Brain Get Tired Like The Rest Of Your Body
Who among us has not experienced mental fatigue after working a long day, taking finals or driving the kids from school to numerous extracurricular activities? When this type of “brain drain” sets in, regardless of how hard you try to concentrate, you probably find yourself physically exhausted and unable to fully focus.
Is this kind of mental fatigue evidence that you’ve overworked your brain? Meaning, does your brain actually get tired in the same way your other muscles do? And is there any difference between mental fatigue and good old exhaustion?
While the answers to these questions involve some complex chemical science, luckily there are ways to get a handle on mental fatigue before it leads to burnout, and those are easy enough for anybody to understand.
Can The Brain Improve With Exercise
A recent New York magazine story published by Pro Bronson and Ashley Merryman detailed an experiment where a teacher was able to impact math scores by having children read out loud a scientific paper on how the brain is a muscle that will respond to exercise. The knowledge of this opportunity encouraged students to work harder and a new improved trend was established.
In another world, far away, in the world of neuroscience, the idea that the brain is like a muscle has received an enormous amount of attention since the famous ferret experiment in 2000 that proved that the brain is basically tissue like muscle that can be called to action for any purpose. This is brain plasticity.
The obvious implication is that brain is like a muscle new tissue is available for a specific task if that task is exercised correctly. It is known for instance that violinists have much more brain activity related to movement of their fret-board fingering hand the accuracy and speed required for this exacting task is met by the brain devoting more resources to developing skills beyond what is needed for normal function.
Reading Out Loud Uses Different Brain Circuits Than Reading Silently
Reading aloud promotes brain development. Children first learn to read by speaking words out loud. Once that knowledge is established, then they learn to read to themselves. Its indeed one of the strange facts about the brain because we usually teach our children to read and talk politely. But to promote brain development in your child, you should read and talk aloud in front of them.
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Brain Activity Can Power A Small Light Bulb
When you are awake, your brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity which is enough to power a small light bulb. The brain also works fast. The information going from your arms/legs to your brain travels at a speed of 150-260 miles per hour. The brain consumes glucose from the body to produce this amount of the energy.
Dreams Are Believed To Be A Combination Of Imagination Physiological Factors And Neurological Factors
The limbic system in the mid-brain deals with emotions in both waking and dreaming and includes the amygdala, which is mostly associated with fear and is especially active during dreams. Dreams are proof that your brain is working even when you are sleeping. The average human has about 4-7 dreams per night.
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What Happens When You Exercise Your Brain
Exercising your brain using cognitive training tools, which are also called brain training games or brain exercises, may help improve your cognitive functioning.
Some studies have found that brain exercises improve memory, executive functions, and processing speeds, while others have shown little to no effect.
The impact of brain exercises may have something to do with age. Some studies have shown an improvement in cognitive abilities in young people and older adults. Nouchi R, et al. . Brain training game boosts executive functions, working memory and processing speed in the young adults: A randomized controlled trial. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055518
A study published in 2017 showed that a brain-training intervention known as speed-of-processing training significantly reduced dementia risk. Edwards JD, et al. . Speed of processing training results in lower risk of dementia. DOI: 10.1016/j.trci.2017.09.002
If youre looking to exercise your brain, you dont necessarily need to resort to brain training games and apps.
Your brain is made up of different parts that all work together. Lets take a look at the different parts of the brain and what they do.
Is The Brain A Muscle Then
First, lets show you Medicine Nets definition of muscles, which we quite like:
Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. There are three types of muscle in the body:
1. Muscle which is responsible for moving extremities and external areas of the body is called skeletal muscle.
2. Heart muscle is called cardiac muscle.
3. Muscle that is in the walls of arteries and bowel is called smooth muscle.
All muscles are attached to bones by tendons, which help them to move. They work in pairs. If a muscle contracts, it shrinks in length and pulls the bone it is connected to. When a muscle is relaxed it returns back to its normal state. One muscle in the pairing is used for each part of the process.
The brain is more complex than a muscle. In fact its cell structure is way beyond that of a muscle. The brain isnt a muscle as it doesnt contract or relax and it keeps itself supported via a constant supply of fluid, without the reliance on any muscular mass. Having said that, the arteries and arterioles that bring blood to the brain are formed of some muscle. The brain is a muscle in the sense of its potential to be trained and maintained.
The two keywords here are mental stimulation.
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The Human Brain Gets Smaller As We Get Older
Human brain keeps developing until you are in your late 40s. It is the only organ in the human body to undergo development for such a long time. It also sees more changes than any other organ. Around mid-life, the brain will begin to shrink. However, size doesnt matter in the brain. There is no evidence that a larger brain is smarter than a smaller one.
Short Term Memory Lasts About 20
This has to do with your brains capacity for holding small amounts of information in the active mind. The brain keeps this information in an available state for easy access, but only does so for about a minute and a half. Most people hold memory for numbers around 7 seconds, and memory for letters around 9 seconds. In addition, the brain can store up to 7 digits in its working memory. That is why the telephone numbers in the United States are 7 digits long. Learn more about Memory Disorders.
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Train And Refresh Brain Muscle Memory To Be Safe
To illustrate this, let us think about the following: you are the top of a snow-capped mountain, with a few people, should you descent freestyle and try some jumps or just stick to snow plough turns?
- How long you have practiced ski in your life and in the season,
- Who is with you and how good skiers they are,
- What is the weather and quality of snow,
- How many other skiers are on the slope.
For the first slide of the season, after a 5-year break, at a crowed ski field with some fog and your kids behind, you might go with snow plough turns. For you last ride with friends on a sunny weekday, that is the timing for freestyle.
So, it happens to me that I follow the 5S or the PDCA methodology by the book. This will happen when I work in an environment I have little knowledge about or people who have never been exposed to lean techniques before. This also applies if I work for a sector with a very low acceptance of risk, such as pharmaceuticals or aerospace.
Sometimes, I combine different tools as I feel it. When I know the organisation I am working with, there is already a background of lean or Agile techniques, there is a higher appetite for risk. Or when I just have a lot confidence in the toolset I am using, as I have been using it a lot lately.
Train your brain, by doing and repeating the use of tools or methodologies, first by the book, then by adding your touch or combining them. Keep the muscle memory active with refreshers, to keep all your tools close by.
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Are Your Muscles Tired
Peripheral fatigue is the word we use to describe changes in the muscle itself or at the junction between the neurons and the muscle. In peripheral fatigue, the muscle is truly unable to generate the same amount of force as it used to. You may have noticed this feeling while doing push ups, which get harder and harder the more of them you do.
There are many factors that can cause muscles to get fatigued. One is that the muscles may react less to signals sent from the brain during exercise. For muscles to respond to signals from the brain, the amount of electric charge within the muscle cell must change. Specifically, the inside of the muscle cell must become more positive. Once the inside of the muscle cell is positive enough, this cell can react to signals from the brain. However, during maximal exercise, positive charges may escape from muscle cells . This leaves the inside of the muscle cells more negative and less responsive to the signals sent along neurons. You may be wondering how long this kind of peripheral fatigue will last, and when you will be back to your usual strength. As you have probably guessed from your own experiences, fatigue is not permanent. If athletes got weaker after every exercise, then they would not train anymore! In truth, exercising and short-term fatigue make you stronger with time. Depending on the intensity of exercise, it may take minutes, hours, or even days to recover from peripheral fatigue .
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Strengthen Your Muscles Strengthen Your Brain
But does that mean you can also strengthen your mental acuity by strengthening your muscles? Previous studies have suggested that weight training helps keep your brain young, so there is evidence that stronger muscles can lead to a stronger brain. But Firth insists more research is needed before scientists can draw any firm conclusions.
“What we need now are more studies to test if we can actually make our brains healthier by doing things that make our muscles stronger — such as weight training,” he commented.
Still, preliminary evidence does appear to point in that direction and a doctor-approved strength training program will certainly do your mental and physical health no harm. So if these results inspire you to add a little weightlifting to your routine, there’s no need to wait for further evidence to roll in.
How Does The Brain Operate Like A Muscle
Most muscles do just two things: contract and relax. You contract the big muscle in your arm and your hand moves upward. You relax it again and your hand drops down. Most body parts are operated by a system of multiple muscles that work automatically in conjunction with each other to deliver the motion or action that you desire.
The brain operates differently. Many processes are completely automatic, such as breathing and your heart beating. Your brain takes care of these things as long as you are alive. If you want the brain to take some action, such as figuring out a puzzle or remembering something from long ago, you need to tell it to do so. In this way, brain functions much as a muscle would.
Also, your brain can be trained and exercised to get stronger. With muscular exercise, the cells are damaged and repair and you grow new ones as you bulk up. Too many damaged cells in your brain and you become disabled. Also, of course, your brain can never bulk up or grow in size. However, the neurons can get stronger and actually grow new ones.
What is really changing when you exercise your brain is its ability to make connections and to forge associations between the information stored in your memory banks, current input, and experiences.
If you ask if the brain is a muscle, you may have to use your brain power to figure out the answer. While it is not made up of muscle tissue and does much more than contract and relax, your brain can get stronger if you work at.
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Muscle Memory Of Muscles
Muscles are composed of muscle fibers, with each muscle fiber made of muscle cells. Normally, one cell only has one nucleus . However, muscle cells are one of the few types of cells that have multiple nucleicalled myonucleiin them.
A look at a muscle fiber.
Exercise strains the muscles. This strain results in tired and damaged muscles that the body then needs to repair. In this process of repair, the muscles add new cells and myonuclei to existing cells. This increases muscle mass, which eventually makes the musclesand by extension youstronger. This increase in muscle mass due to vigorous exercise is called hypertrophy.
Research into the effect of exercise on the long-term health of ones muscles are showing that the gained myonulcei are not lost, even after you stop exercising. Once you stop exercising, you muscles will lose the extra muscle mass , but the new myonuclei that have been added remain. The loss of muscle mass is a loss of the proteins in the muscle.
When you do get back to exercising, youre likely to regain your strength faster because of the previously gained myonuclei. The gained myonuclei might be involved in the process of protein synthesis and other cellular changes, which, researchers hypothesize, gives the muscle cells a kind of memory of that particular exercise. This memory might be easier to gain the younger you are, and the memory may last for many years .
Lobes Of The Brain And What They Control
Each brain hemisphere has four sections, called lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. Each lobe controls specific functions.
- Frontal lobe. The largest lobe of the brain, located in the front of the head, the frontal lobe is involved in personality characteristics, decision-making and movement. Recognition of smell usually involves parts of the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe contains Brocas area, which is associated with speech ability.
- Parietal lobe. The middle part of the brain, the parietal lobe helps a person identify objects and understand spatial relationships . The parietal lobe is also involved in interpreting pain and touch in the body. The parietal lobe houses Wernickes area, which helps the brain understand spoken language.
- Occipital lobe. The occipital lobe is the back part of the brain that is involved with vision.
- Temporal lobe. The sides of the brain, temporal lobes are involved in short-term memory, speech, musical rhythm and some degree of smell recognition.
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Be Good To Your Brain
So what can you do for your brain? Plenty.
- Eat healthy foods. They contain vitamins and minerals that are important for the nervous system.
- Get a lot of playtime .
- Wear a helmet when you ride your bike or play other sports that require head protection.
- Don’t drink alcohol, take drugs, or use tobacco.
- Use your brain by doing challenging activities, such as puzzles, reading, playing music, making art, or anything else that gives your brain a workout!
Were The Jocks Correct
Grow your muscle, grow your brain. For decades its getting clearer physical activity leads to more brain cells. But how? And why?
A recent paper in Cell Metabolism, ably reported by Gretchen Reynolds, shows the advantages of cross-species research. Work with mice, monkeys and humans demonstrated something jocks sensed long ago your legs talk to your brain.
Sometimes they tell it what to do.
Catching Cathepsin B
Many of us grew up thinking the number of brain cells at birth was the most wed ever have. Following that auspicious event, aging wear and tear, divorce, alcohol, even aspirin would leave with less and less brainpan until we emerged addled and confused onto the steps of the financially ruinous nursing home.
Except thats rubbish.
We grow brain cells all the time. In fact, we grow new cells all the time. We completely rebuild and quickly the cells we have. Were basically a continuous remake.
And now we learn that new muscles make new proteins that somehow make the brain grow new cells and get sharper.
The study looked primarily at mice. They are a lot more manipulable than people though observers of present day politics might possess some doubt.
The mice given running wheels as expected showed more brain cells. They were better cognitively. They kept improving.
And they also produced a hive of proteins that popped into the bloodstream going hither and yon. One of them, cathepsin B, looked like it was directly influencing the brain
Muscle and Mind
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