Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to restructure itself through the formation of new neural connections. The complex calculations of our body functions take place in this neural forest that exists within our brain.
Cognitive ability if a person is concerned with how he/she fathoms the world and acts accordingly. These cognitive functions are mental skills we need to conduct tasks such as thinking, reasoning, grasping and retaining the information. Each cognitive skill plays an important role in the processing of information, and if one of these gets weak, it brings an overall negative impact upon the behavior of an individual.
The optimum efficiency of human cognition reveals through their ability to divide attention with efficiency and process information rapidly. It is also a fact that our mental abilities are a subject to periodic modifications. They change as a result of brain maturation and also with the aging of brain cells. As people age, these subtle changes affect their movements, and their reflexes slow down. However, it is a common misconception that the decline of cognitive abilities is inevitable and nothing can be done to alter this. Research shows that there are some areas of the brain that do not show any such changes. Plus, there are a few interventions that may slow down some changes that take place. Cultivating optimal brain health is the goal for many people as they experience gradual changes in their brain power. Studies prove how physical exercise can alter the physical structure of the human brain beneficially. Animals who exercise on a regular basis increase the number of brain vessels that carry oxygenated blood to areas of the brain that are responsible for thinking. Physical activity is indeed the best way to escape shackles of brain degeneration. It lowers blood pressure, helps to balance sugar levels, improves cholesterol and reduces mental stress.
Below are seven exercises that can help you boost the cognitive abilities of your brain and retain its functionality:
Cardio exercise can vary from low to high intensity, depending upon your level of fitness. Cardio exercises are also known as Aerobics. People with heart problems perform these workouts, but they are proven to be good for the brain as well. An article in a Harvard Medical School blog states: “Aerobic exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart.”
It affects the nervous system and triggers dopamine which results in elevated levels of happiness among people. The Harvard University suggests that a person should perform 120 minutes of aerobic exercise during each week. It is to note that you may only reap maximum benefits if you are consistently following the routine. For beginners, it is a suggestion that they start with low-intensity exercise and gradually move to hard intensity exercises. Pushing oneself will only result in exhaustion and demotivation. Instead, a simple 30-minutes of moderate workout will do the trick.
Essentially, yoga involves stretching your body to improve its flexibility. The deep breathing may work out on what is we call the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). It controls the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response system) and the parasympathetic nervous system (it instructs you to relax). Yoga reduces SNS and elevates the PNS which ends up in a reduced heart rate and stable blood pressure. This practice works well for the treatment of insomnia, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. People who regularly perform yoga or meditation report that they feel happy and can deal with daily challenges with better composure.
3. Weight Training
Weight training has shown to make muscles and bones stronger. The best exercise in this regime is a functional full-body workout that stimulates more muscles at once. It helps to structure more lean muscles and strengthen the bones faster. The conventional bodybuilding exercises, on the other hand, will target specific muscles with special movements. Although this is not the wrong method, it is not as effective as full weight impact.
Similar to aerobics, you must start small. A light start with a concentration on body form brings better results as compared to heavy lifting from the start.
Endurance training has been shown to create an impact on brain plasticity, volume of the gray and white matter and also the functional connectivity measures in human beings. Endurance exercises include cardio, balance and strength workouts. The term, endurance basically refers to how long a person can sustain any physical activity. In the beginning, a person might feel fatigued within 20 minutes, but over time they can increase their endurance and can perform until 30 minutes.
Jogging or running a few miles can be useful for people who find it hard to focus yet they know they have a lot of energy within. Running for even 15 minutes each day helps to reduce the excess energy and then you may begin your other workout routine without any distraction. Additionally, a good run is a great way to trigger a rush of serotonin that will immediately lift your mood.
Although the simplest of all exercises, walking has shown to improve the functionality of brain exponentially. People who indulge in the regular walking routine report an improvement in how different areas of the brain communicate with each other. Their neural connectivity enhances with regular walks, and they find themselves getting better at planning, setting priorities as well as performing more than one task at a time.
7. Memory exercise
Memory is a complex phenomenon that involves multiple areas of the human brain. In the current times, short-term memory has become more integral as we are supposed to recall multiple things at the same time. It is important to challenge your mental abilities through multiple brain-enhancing techniques such as word games, crossword puzzles, and sudoku. Such exercise will not only help to expand your knowledge, but they stimulate the overall activity of the brain too.
As you age, your circulatory system slows down which results in cognitive deficits. It is fundamental for each person to stay vigilant to how their brain is functioning. They should take note of the slightest of changes. Multiple avenues exist these days that can allow you to be aware of your brain activities. For instance, the Braintest app that is a scientifically-validated app used to detect early signs of dementia. You can check out the Braintest reviews and go for installation once you feel it is going to bring useful results.
So, the claim that exercise improves brain performance is true and a person who wants to retain their levels of confidence for prolonged periods should constantly nourish their brain through physical activities as well as mental simulation exercises.