This blog post will give you an eye-opening reason to continue or start your F.A.S. Training sessions…
Being healthy is awesome and so is improving your body image but what about your brain?! You wouldn’t be able to do any of these without a healthy functioning brain.
Before we get into this topic read this definition…
Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. (medicinenet.com)
It’s basically an umbrella term that defines how the brain learns new things, creates behaviors, stores memories and reacts to physiological demands and stress.
How does this affect you and me?
We are going to be discussing the voluntary physiological stress we create in order to improve physical performance. Wait until you see how training can improve your memory.
One study found that one 20-minute weight training session improved memory.In a year-long study, individuals who exercised were actually growing and expanding their brain’s memory center one to two percent per year, whereas typically that center would have continued to decline in size. Strength training, especially high intensity interval training (HIIT) is especially beneficial for boosting long-term memory and reducing your risk for dementia.
CHA CHA BANG. MIND BLOWN!
In 2006, Colcombe and colleagues randomly assigned 59 older adults to either a cardiovascular exercise group, or a nonaerobic exercise control group (stretching and toning exercise). Participants exercised 3 hours per week for 6 months.
Colcombe et al. scanned the participants’ brains before and after the training period.
After 6 months, the brain volume of the aerobic exercising group increased in several areas compared to the other group. Volume increase occurred principally in frontal and temporal areas of the brain involved in executive control and memory processes.
The authors do not know what underlying cellular changes might have caused these volume changes. However they suspect, based on animal research, that volume changes may be due to an increased number of blood vessels and an increased number of connections between neurons.
Any given gene is not in a static “on” or “off” position. You may be a carrier of a gene that never gets expressed, simply because you never supply the required environment to turn it on.
Most Important Take Home Message
As neurologist David Perlmutter explains:
“We interact with our genome every moment of our lives, and we can do so very, very positively. Keeping your blood sugar low is very positive in terms of allowing the genes to express reduced inflammation, which increase the production of life-giving antioxidants. So that’s rule number one: You can change your genetic destiny. Rule number two: you can change your genetic destiny to grow new brain cells, specifically in the hippocampus…
Your brain’s memory center regenerates. You are constantly growing new brain cells into your 50s, 60s, 80s, and 90s – throughout your lifetime – through a process called neurogenesis. That said, these two ideas come together because you can turn on your genes through lifestyle choices that enhance neurogenesis and that enhance regrowth of cells and expansion of your brain’s memory center. Researchers have demonstrated that there are factors under our control that can make that happen.”
Want To Learn More?
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Sciencedescribes numerous examples of brain shifts. In one of them, a surgeon in his 50s suffers a stroke and his left arm becomes paralyzed. During his rehabilitation, his good arm and hand are immobilized, and he is set to cleaning tables. The task is at first impossible. Then slowly the bad arm remembers how to move. He learns to write again, to play tennis again: the functions of the brain areas killed in the stroke have transferred themselves to healthy regions! The brain compensates for damage by reorganizing and forming new connections between intact neurons. In order to reconnect, the neurons need to be stimulated through activity.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006 Nov;61(11):1166-70.
Aerobic exercise training increases brain volume in aging humans.
Colcombe SJ1, Erickson KI, Scalf PE, Kim JS, Prakash R, McAuley E, Elavsky S, Marquez DX, Hu L, Kramer AF