A free resource to transform your brain
– by Dr. Amar (Amit Aggarwal) MD
February 10, 2019
NEUROSCIENTISTS HAVE FOUND THAT EXERCISE IS ONE OF THE MOST TRANSFORMING THINGS TO YOUR BRAIN.
If I tell you there is something you could do right now to enhance your mood and attention and it is also free, would you like to do it? Perhaps you would… Yes I am talking about physical activity which literally means moving your body. Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki has found in her research that exercise profoundly affects the structure and functioning of our brains. Predominantly this effect is seen on two specific areas of our brains-Prefrontal cortex and Hippocampus.
Prefrontal cortex is that part of your brain which is right behind your forehead and physiologically speaking responsible for decision making, focussed attention and personality. Hippocampus is located in temporal lobes of our brains which is the seat of memory storage.
Now neuroscience reveals that when we exercise there are some immediate effects on our brains that last for almost 2 hours and when we are consistent with our exercise it brings some permanent changes to our brains.
What are the immediate changes in our brain with exercise?
Exercise brings surge in neurotransmitters like Dopamine, Serotonin and Nor-adrenaline which immediately boosts our mood and the effect lasts for good two hours.
What happens to brain with regular exercise?
If you are consistent with your exercise your pre frontal cortex and hippocampus grows new cells which means your memory strengthens and your reaction time shortens i.e. your brain is sharper and more attentive.
Can exercise prevent neurodegenerative illnesses?
Exercise strengthens pre-frontal cortex and hippocampus and makes them resilient to neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimers and Dementia.
What is the minimum amount of exercise required?
Research has shown that 20-30 minutes of any aerobic exercise done for three to four times a week is enough to attain benefits.
What should be the type of exercise?
Any aerobic exercise which rev ups your heart for a while is good enough. It could be walking, jogging, or just taking a flight of stair.
Talking from the perspective of yoga one of the great yogis born in India-Paramhansa Yogananda invented a system of exercise what he called Energization Exercises. This is a system of 39 exercises where using the agency of ‘will’ all the parts of the body are energised in 15-20 minutes. Yogananda said that when these exercises are done regularly they can heal the practitioner of all physical, mental, emotional and spiritual illnesses.
Recently we did a study in our institution where some of these exercises were an integral part of the protocol for study participants. It was observed that these exercises had a calming effect on heart rate rhythm and collectively with other yoga tools it brought more than 40 percent jump in physical and mental wellbeing of the participants. The results were published in International Journal of Scientific Research. These exercises can be learnt at the nearest Ananda Sangha Meditation Center.
With such profound effect with so little effort I think regular exercise can truly transform our brains for happier and healthier tomorrow.
Author of this article is a
Physician, Researcher and Lifestyle Educator,
Yoga and Meditation Teacher from Ananda Sangha,
Faculty at SKN Medical College, Pune