Exercise can be essential to keep the young brain as we age, especially for mental tasks that require attention, problem solving and decision-making.
About the time we walked in the forties, most of us are advised by our bodies to see are slowing.Run, climb and reach can become more difficult.Our sexual resistance can be reduced.We gain weight more easily and lose it more difficult, and chronic diseases can start configuring.
The usual recipe to avoid these early signs of aging is exercise.It turns out that recent studies have found that exercise also helps preserve our mental abilities.
“The average age” of the brain
As we enter the fifth decade of life, the way our brains work begins to change.It is as if the “switch” in the brain does not work.It is not only more difficult to multi-task; it is also more difficult to switch between tasks.We have more difficulties in problem solving, concentration, and certain types of decisions.Our knowledge base and experience of life, of course, continue to rise, often compensate for these changes, but neurologists now have little doubt that there are changes in the activation of the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
In younger people, the activation of the prefrontal cortex during mental activity “higher level” tends to be localized.Brain scans show that light up only on the left side or the right side of the brain.When neuroscientists look at the brains of people who are over 40 to perform mental tasks, however, they are often with activation on both sides of the brain.The decrease in “asymmetric activation” in the brain suggests that more brainpower is needed to perform the same tasks. Neuroscientists have even invented an acronym to describe this phenomenon, HAROLD, for hemispheric asymmetry reduction in older adults.
What scientists have not known until recently was if HAROLD could reduce or even prevented with lifestyle changes.
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Fitness, aerobics and brain activation
The possibility of preventing this aspect of brain aging attracted the attention of Dr. Hideaki Soya, professor of exercise and Neuroendocrinology at the University of Tsukuba in Japan.Dr. Soya and his colleagues recruited 60 Japanese men between the ages of 64 and 75 who did not show obvious signs of dementia to participate in a study.
The research team first tested the aerobic capacity of men.Then, in a follow-up visit, they met the men with infrared sensors that measure blood flow and oxygen uptake in the brain.Volunteers were given the task buttons for a word on the screen, the name of a pressing color, but not the background color of the word.For example, if the test has been carried out in English, “GREEN” may appear on a blue background, and participants are expected to press the button for green, not blue.
This task has considerable brainpower, and in younger people has been shown to light up the left side of the prefrontal cortex.When scientists have given this task to the elderly, they found that the right side of the brain usually also lights. In aerobically fit older men, however, only the left prefrontal cortex showed increased blood flow and oxygen uptake, similar to young volunteers.
How to keep your brain young
Dr. Soybean noted that in terms of attention and rapid decision-making, the brains of older volunteers are in good physical shape as those of younger volunteers.Bodied elderly were faster and more accurate in their responses that older volunteers with lower levels of aerobic capacity, indicating greater attention and reasoning skills.
This study showed that exercise keeps the brain young, only men physically fit have better brain activity for certain types of intellectual tasks.The research team did not specifically investigated what kind of physical activity helped older volunteers to stay in good mental shape.In general, however, physically fit older people still walk, and perhaps even participate in other activities that keep the body and brain in good condition, such as jogging, sports andswimming.
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The study by Dr. Soy is not the only research on the role of exercise in maintaining brain health during aging.At least 1073 other studies have examined aspects of the same issue.Some recommendations emerge from the literature:
- Regular exercise seems to increase angiogenesis, neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, and the synthesis of neurotransmitters, growth of blood vessels, creating new neurons, the construction of new networks in the brain, and maintain healthy levels of chemicals in the brain.The most effective for this purpose exercise combines aerobic activity with the activity of coordination, for example, hit a ball, climb a rock wall, running a competitive race.Just repeating the same movements repeatedly, how to spend half an hour on the elliptical or exercise on a stationary bike, it does not have the same effect.
- Even when people have not been physically active, “they end up getting motion” exercises help activate the brain areas that are needed the most complex sports.A study by the University of Kansas recruited people to work on the elliptical or treadmill for 75, 150 or 225 minutes a week, in five sessions of 15, 30, or 45 minutes each.As little as 75 minutes of exercise per week increased attention, concentration, and the more people did exercise, the more you put visuospatial ability, eye-hand coordination improved.If you want to play a sport or follow a sport in their senior years, then exercise, even simple, aerobic can help.Games and sports simply help more.
- No need to work on the outside of a difficult way to get exercise benefits brain.In fact, it is not even always a good idea.Moderate mild exercise to increase blood flow through the carotid artery to the brain.Strenuous exercise may actually decrease.It is better to spend 15 minutes to an hour a day doing physical activities you enjoy, at a comfortable pace, than it is to work hard to try to improve their resistance.After 60 years, in particular, exercise is more about preserving their ability to increase them, though occasionally we find ourselves with a new sport even in the seventh and eighth and ninth decade of lifetime.
There is no doubt that do something” only a few (15-30) minutes, four or five times a week helps to be more engaged “with you” and with the world around him.Mild aerobic exercise can wake up your brain so you can continue or undertake more complex physical activities.Not much is needed to help keep your brain in shape, and the benefits far outweigh the investment of your time.