1 February 2008

Move It & Lose It with Prof Trim

Exercise builds brain health
In a recent review that would take slightly more space to do it justice than the paragraph devoted to it here, University of California-Irvine brain researchers have concluded that exercise is not just good for the body, but can also be good for the brain. It does this by allowing the production of growth factors which allow for neurogenesis in the part of the brain (hippocampus) associated with learning and feelings of well-being.

Dr Garry Egger aka Prof Trim

Growth factors are molecules that promote the health of specific cells; they are produced by cells other than the ones they nourish. Nerve growth factors (neurotrophins) play vital roles in nourishing and supporting nerve cells. A growth factor called BDNF (for brain-derived neurotrophic factor) increases significantly in the brains of animals that run voluntarily. Researchers have found that laboratory animals that voluntarily run on an exercise wheel show increases in the generation and survival of new neurons (brain cells) in the hippocampus This increased neurogenesis is associated with improved learning. ‘You're literally building the structure of the brain, just by moving your feet.’ says lead writer Carl W. Cotman, PhD.

Not only does regular exercise promote neurogenesis, it also:

  • Improves concentration and attention
  • Reduces loss of gray matter
  • Strengthens synapses (in animals, running also increases the strength of synaptic connections), and
  • Enhances blood flow
Trends in Neurosciences (2007) Exercise builds brain health: key roles of growth factor cascades and inflammation Trends in Neurosciences 30 (2007) 9, 464–472

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Anonymous said...

I,at age 62, do Aquarobics, Pilates and lots of gardening and walking. My husband aged 73 does golf, gardening and walking as well.
He is still working as am I- both part time. Does this not say something for exercise helping the brain!

Anonymous said...

I'm needing to loose weight and am having trouble getting started as I keep running out of breath litlerly I have to keep using my puffer. I have over years lost weight but just latley I have had so much family stress I can't seem to get a proper gripe on exercise.
I bought a mini tramp and the only thing it did was cause me to feel sick. I live in Christchurch New Zealand and would love to see if anyone had a tredmill I could swap or borrow to get a head start.
I am hoping to be a lot lighter by August as I am going over to England with my brothers help I would like to be able to walk futher than the end of my driveway and run out of puff.
This is my email if anyone can help

GI Group said...

Re running out of puff when exercising. Why not consult a sports physiologist who is experienced in working with people with asthma for an exercise plan that's realistic and tailored exactly to your needs. You may find it's a better way to go than using equipment like a mini tramp or treadmill.