Lack of physical activity is now accepted as a serious health risk and the evidence shows that our brains need as much activity as our bodies do to keep them fit and healthy.
The amount of research showing this link is becoming over whelming so I have share a few of my favourites to help you quickly understand how beneficial good movement can be to :
- strengthen your mind,
- give you more energy
- and prevent against serious illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s
Working around problems
My absolute favourite is the nun study because it used cold hard data instead of correlations and showed very clearly that
- Everyones brain experiences the changes that lead to Alzheimer’s
- Alzheimer’s only occurred in those who didn’t regularly challenge their brain
- Challenging the brain forces it to find ways to overcome poorly functioning brain systems.
I like to read the authors words so this excerpt is a grreat summary of the findings:
Autopsies of the brains of individuals who lived well into their nineties or older and who showed no signs of mental functional decline, revealed that most exhibited significant changes in brain structures and biological markers usually associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In spite of those changes, they did not show any behavioral changes. Snowden concluded that continued mental exercising allowed for the development of alternate pathways that bypassed the diseased portions of the brain and that appeared to account for their preserved mental functioning.
This kind of research implies that our bodies have a highly developed capability to work around problems within themselves. All they need to trigger this ability is the right kind of stimulation which generally comes from some kind of activity. Those that train their minds regularly benefit greatly because their brains learn to work around the existing problems and continue functioning as normal.
Maintaining proper underlying functions
In looking at just how activity may help dementia I found that a strong immune system and properly regulated protein synthesis help prevent Alzheimers and dementia which are two core body processes that are improved with quality physical activity.
In general the idea is that activity, whether it’s mental or physical, challenges your body and mind, forcing it to make the changes required to be efficient and work well
Could your brains ability to harness energy explain age related mental decline?
Everyone seems to assume that your mind must degrade with age but I’ve never seen convincing evidence for that. I simply see that increasing age requires increasing maintenance since our parts (Cells and organs) and code (DNA) get old. In otherwords you could say,
You are only as old as the lifestyle you live.
There is increasing evidence that Age-related cognitive decline is linked to the energy available to synapses in the prefrontal cortex. The study’s senior author, John Morrison, PhD explains this more clearly
“We are increasingly convinced that maintenance of synaptic health as we age, rather than rescuing cognition later, is critically important in preventing age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease,”
So the experts are finding that our brain structures don’t die off as much as we thought. The real problem is that the brain needs energy to keep its traffic flowing because neurons need energy to transfer signals and as people age their modern lifestyles lead them to become inefficient in accessing their available energy stores. The result being that less energy is made available to support brain traffic.
The authors sum up the finding neatly
Working memory requires the energy-demanding activation of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex through the complex arrangement of the synapses that interconnect nerve cells.
In short. Synapses need lots of energy to work properly. Without that energy they start to fail.
If you have been following this blog you may start to understand why I believe that the health of our bodies reflects an energy economy. Financial economies suffer when money flows slowly. Cashflow is everything and individual businesses fail simply because cash flow isn’t handled properly.
In the same vain life is all about energy flow and individual humans suffer problems when they manage their energy poorly.
The best way to fix problems like this is to be more active. With the mind you need both physical and mental activity. The reason is simple. Your brain loses functionality because it can’t tap into the energy resources around it. This happens primarily because you don’t use your brain enough and so it hasn’t kept up its sharpness. It’s literally become unfit. So you have to train it by using it.
Over time the parts that were slack are forced to get back up to speed. It’s obviously much more technical than that but that is what ultimately why the term use it or lose it was coined.
That is a quick introduction to some of the amazing research I have discovered and a little taster of the benefits being active both mentally, physically can bring. There are more links in the related articles below that take this investigation even further and lots more information on fit2thrive.co.uk.
Get in touch
If you want to know more about taking care of your mind, body and spirit then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org where I provided the most fun healthy lifestyle plans and advice that you will find. I look forwarded to seeing your over there.
[Learn more about]
- Exercise is essential to ‘grow back your brain’
- Can a change in diet reduce onset of dementia? Studies indicate yes
- Scientists catch brain damage in the act Scientists have uncovered how inflammation and lack of oxygen conspire to cause brain damage in conditions such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Link between vitamin D and dementia risk confirmed What is less known is that uptake of vitamins is related to both supply and demand. Eating foods containing vitamin D will boost its uptake, moving will increase uptake even more.
- Type 3 Diabetes, the next epidemic: Alzheimers the term “type 3 diabetes” accurately reflects the fact that Alzheimers Disease (AD) represents a form of diabetes that selectively involves the brain and has molecular and biochemical features that overlap with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (T1DM & T2DM)