Monday, February 2, 2015

Exercise and the brain

Physical exercise is not only important for your body's health- it also helps your brain stay sharp. Your brain is no different than rest of the muscles in your body--you either use it or you lose it. You utilize the gym to stimulate the growth of muscle cells, just as you use a brain fitness program to increase connections in your brain. The benefits of physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, have positive effects on brain function on multiple fronts, ranging from the molecular to behavioral level. According to a study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. Exercise can stimulate the brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in a wide array of important cortical areas of the brain. Recent research from UCLA demonstrated that exercise increased growth factors in the brain- making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.
In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.
  • Aerobic exercise is great for body and brain: not only does it improve brain function, but it also acts as a "first aid kit" on damaged brain cells.
  • Exercising in the morning before going to school/work not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also produces increases retention of new information, and better reaction to complex situations.
  • When looking to change up your work out, look for an activity that incorporates coordination along with cardiovascular exercise (such as a functional but playful exercise routine).
  • Circuit work outs or high intensity interval training workouts (H.I.I.T) can both spike your heart rate, but also constantly redirect your attention.
  • Hitting a wall or mentally exhausted? Try rebooting with a few jumping jacks for your brain improvement exercises.
Exercise directly impacts the behavior and development of the brain. “It is likely that the effects of physical activity on cognition would be particularly important in the highly plastic developing brains of youth,” according to a 2010 essay penned by Charles Basch of Columbia University. He summarized how exercise may affect executive functioning:
1)    Increased oxygen flow to the brain
2)    Increased brain neurotransmitters
“[Increased] brain-derived neurotrophins that support neuronal differentiation and survival in the developing brain.” Neurotrophins assure the survival of neurons in areas responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking.

 Mr. Nick Maragkos has been involved in the fitness industry, over the past 15 years, as a personal trainer and a group fitness trainer. He is a graduate from Central YMCA in Leeds England and an approved triathlon coach by the British Triathlon Association and has been working in some of the biggest gyms of Great Britain, in Leeds, as a manager and a fitness specialist. Through his collaboration with Les Mills International and Les Mills Hellas, he has been evolved into an advanced instructor, a trainee trainer and a specialist coach in the group fitness programs of the company such as Bodypump, CX, RPM, Bodycombat, and Grit. Over the last 5 years and after his return to Greece, he is collaborating with gyms in the city of Thessaloniki as a group fitness instructor and a personal trainer through his company, Personal Experience.

Facebook: PersonalExperience

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