The University of Newcastle in Australia is currently conducting a research study with 22 high schools evaluating the relationship between physical fitness, brain function and student stress levels. The interim results indicate that the fitter the student is, the lowering the stress levels are.
While exercise is chiefly valued for its influence on physical health, strength and mobility, there is an increasing body of knowledge showing that physical exercise, especially strength educate, is just as important for a healthy brain, improved nervous system function and lessening stress.
This fascinating link was demonstrated in a study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, which shows that neurological health is as dependent on signals from your big leg muscles as it is on signals from your brain to your muscles.
” The research shows that using the legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercising, sends signals to the brain that are vital to produce healthy neural cells, essential for the brain and nervous system. Cutting back on exercising builds it difficult for the body to produce new nerve cells — some of the very building blocks that allow us to handle stress and adapt to challenge in our lives .”
Weight-bearing against gravitation is a crucial component of life that allows the human body and brain to function optimally and the leg muscles are a key in this equation. Joan Vernikos, Ph.D ., former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, explains this in her volume” Sitting Kills, Moving Mends .”
Research by the NASA scientist held accountable for monitoring the astronauts, shows your body declines rapidly when sitting for long periods.
Simply standing up over 30 times a day is a powerful antidote to long periods of sitting and is more effective than walking. It’s not how many hours of sitting that’s bad for you; it’s how often you interrupt that sitting that is GOOD for you.
A study in 2016 in the periodical Gerontology found that working your leg muscles helps maintain cognitive function as you get older. According to the authors, simply strolling more could help maintain brain function well into old age. The study followed 324 female twins, aged 43 to 73, for a decade. Cognitive function such as learning new things and memory was tested at the outset and at the conclusion of the study.
Interestingly, leg strength was found to be a better predictor for brain health than any other lifestyle factor they reviewed. Consistently, the twin with the greatest leg strength maintained higher cognitive running over day compared to her weaker twin. The stronger of the pair also experienced fewer age-related brain changes over time.
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