The human brain represents the command center of our nervous system and it contains about 86 billion nerve cells called neurons. Studies suggest that neurons are formed before birth and they basically persist without replacement. However, it has been proved that the stem cells that can be found in our bodies have the ability to differentiate into neurons whenever it is needed. Even so, maintaining the health of our brain should definitely become a top priority for each of us.
As mentioned before, one of the best methods of achieving this goal is including a particular type of physical exercise in our daily routine. The benefits of this choice are endless. Apart from the changes that occur almost immediately, such as the improvement of concentration or the enhancement of creativity, physical exercise also has the capacity of slowing cognitive decline.
John J. Ratey, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, claims that if we did not move, we would not be thinkers. He is the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (2008). The main arguments that he uses in order to convince people to give up their sedentary lifestyle are the following:
- exercise improves mind’s alertness, attention, mood and motivation;
- training encourages nerve cells to receive new information;
- activity generates the development of new nerve cells from a stem
Among all types of exercise, running turns out to be one of the best choices.
It induces increased blood flow, it limits the production of cortisol, which is a feared stress hormone, and it encourages the release of endorphins. What is more, running has turned out to be an incredibly effective antidepressant as it provides similar results to the consumer of Prozac. In addition to all these, according to various studies involving athletes, running helps your brain age better by preventing all sorts of illness that can affect it after a certain age. The best part of this is that you do not need specialized equipment, a comfortable pair of sweatpants and some sneakers are more than enough.
If you are not the kind of person who prefers spending time outdoors, you might be interested to find out what are the benefits of choosing yoga.
It seems that our thoughts can actually change the chemical composition of the brain. As it can be rather difficult to monitor every single thought, many people start practicing yoga. This type of exercise implies deep breathing, the stretching of muscles and meditation. It promises to decrease stress, depression, and anxiety while increasing cognitive functions and creativity. It also helps us leave behind all the negative patterns known as our “response factor.”