Head Squeeze has partnered with Hello Brain to bring you a series of videos all about that most mystifying of organs, the Brain.
Your brain gets a shot of oxygen when you exercise. This helps encourage new brain cells to grow, building up spare brain reserves for a rainy day..
Hello Brain provides easy-to-understand information about the brain and brain health
Is exercise good for my brain?
We’ve all bought a gym membership we never used—it’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for. But you might be a little less shy of the treadmill if you knew working out didn’t just tone your bum – but your brain.
Your brain makes up just 2% of your body weight – but it’s very greedy – sucking up one fifth of the oxygen you take in. When you start exercising, blood flows to your brain, carrying extra oxygen and nutrients to your neurons. It seems your brain is poised to take advantage of this feast. Scientists think that the increase in oxygen may help stimulate the production of new nerve cells in the hippocampus — known as ‘neurogenesis’.
And, as neurons are responsible for perception, memory and everything else in the brain, increasing their number is like building your money-reserve for a rainy day: when your brain is damaged from disease, or loses nerve cells as it ages.
These extra neurons add up, and become part of what scientists have coined ‘Brain Reserve.’
And that’s not all – researchers are finding that exercise may also help your brain, even after it’s become damaged. One study put a group of 70-80 year-old women with mild cognitive impairment through a six-month boot-camp, pumping iron two days a week. At the end of it, researchers measured not muscles, but their brain’s processing speed – and the ladies showed a clear improvement.
So – exercise can be good for your brain, as well as your body. And best of all — you don’t need to pump iron. A little light gardening, or a half-hour walk through the park will do just as well.