Can Exercise Strengthen Brain Function? – NDTV Doctor

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Below we discuss in detail how exactly regular exercise improves our brain health.

Can Exercise Strengthen Brain Function?

Regular exercise has been associated with a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases

Exercise offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental health, including strengthening brain function. Keep reading as we understand in detail how exactly regular exercise improves our brain health.

Here are 10 ways exercise can enhance brain function:

1. Improved cognitive function

Exercise has been shown to enhance cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and decision-making. Regular physical activity stimulates the production of growth factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which promote the growth and survival of neurones in the brain, leading to improved cognitive function.

2. Increased neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganise in response to experiences and stimuli. Exercise enhances neuroplasticity by promoting the formation of new neural connections and strengthening existing ones, which can improve learning and memory.

3. Enhanced mood

Exercise is known to have mood-enhancing effects, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that promote feelings of happiness and well-being. Additionally, exercise increases the production of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters involved in regulating mood.

4. Stress reduction

Regular exercise can help reduce stress levels by lowering the body’s production of stress hormones, such as cortisol, and promoting relaxation. Physical activity also increases the production of endorphins, which act as natural stress relievers and mood boosters.

5. Improved sleep quality

Exercise can promote better sleep by regulating the sleep-wake cycle and promoting relaxation. Physical activity increases the production of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep, and reduces levels of arousal-promoting neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline.

6. Enhanced brain blood flow

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen and nutrients essential for optimal brain function. Improved blood flow can enhance cognitive performance and protect against age-related cognitive decline.

7. Reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases

Regular exercise has been associated with a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Physical activity promotes the production of neuroprotective factors and reduces inflammation in the brain, which can help protect against age-related cognitive decline and neurodegeneration.

8. Increased brain volume

Studies have shown that regular exercise is associated with increased grey matter volume in regions of the brain involved in memory, learning, and cognitive function. Exercise-induced neurogenesis, or the formation of new neurones, may contribute to these structural changes in the brain.

9. Improved executive function

Executive function refers to a set of cognitive processes involved in goal-directed behaviour, such as planning, decision-making, and problem-solving. Regular exercise has been shown to enhance executive function by promoting neural efficiency and flexibility in brain networks involved in executive control.

10. Enhanced brain health across the lifespan

Exercise has beneficial effects on brain health throughout the lifespan, from childhood through old age. Regular physical activity during childhood and adolescence has been associated with improved cognitive development and academic performance, while exercise in older adults can help maintain cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

By incorporating regular physical activity into your routine, you can not only improve your brain health but also boost your overall health and well-being.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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