By: April Carson
It is well-known that a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise are beneficial for our overall wellbeing. But how do we best maintain a healthy brain? Scientists have recently uncovered three key secrets.
Your brain is nothing short of spectacular. An incredible 100 billion nerve cells work together to keep you agile and resourceful.
With aging comes a natural decline in brain activity, which can result in forgetfulness or difficulty comprehending information. Writing things down more often, missing appointments, and straining to keep up with dialogue on the television may all be tell-tale signs that your cognitive abilities are fading.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your brain health and maintain its optimal functioning.
According to Hermundur Sigmundsson, professor of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Department of Psychology, the "grey and white matter" hold the keys for understanding our nervous system. Grey matter is composed of the neurons, which are responsible for processing and relaying information, while white matter is made up of a supportive network of axons that connect one part of the brain to another.
The white matter consists of myelinated axons and is responsible for enabling contact between cells as well as facilitating the rapid distribution of signals. On the other hand, neurons and dendrites comprise what we know to be grey matter.
Using MRI scans, the researchers conducted a study to identify three key components that contribute to healthy brain functioning. The results indicated that those with higher grey matter volume and integrity of white matter were associated with better cognitive performance across a variety of areas including working memory and executive function.
Three critical factors contribute to a healthy and functioning brain
A new study in the journal Brain Sciences brings together a lot of what we know from prior studies on the subject of brain health. The researchers went to great measures to include 101 references to studies on how to maintain the health of our grey and white matter in their theoretical perspective paper. Through their review of the literature, the authors uncovered three primary factors necessary for good brain health.
Sigmundsson believes that if you want to preserve your brain's optimal health, there are three significant factors to consider:
2. Passionate Drive
Exercise has long been linked to good brain health. From improved sleep to increased circulation, exercise is a key component to promoting both physical and mental health.
According to Sigmundsson and his colleagues, engaging in an active lifestyle stimulates the central nervous system while also slowing down the effects of brain aging.
It's critical to proactively avoid getting settled into your seat. It takes effort, and there is no alternate way around it. Whether you have an inactive job or are studying at school, when your day is done you must engage in any exercises that can get your body moving.
2. Showing intense feelings:
Stress is a natural part of life and can have detrimental effects on the brain if we are not mindful. It's critical to take proper steps to regulate your emotions in a positive way. This last point may have something to do with your personality.
According to Sigmundsson, our passion and enthusiasm for a certain topic can be the primary factor that motivates us to acquire new knowledge. Ultimately, this has tremendous influence on how we construct and sustain neural networks in our brain.
For some of us, solitude or being around just a handful of people is where we feel most content. We know that "hell is other people," as writer-philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre suggests - albeit in slightly more intricate terms. To contend with this sentiment, you must fortify yourself mentally and emotionally.
According to Sigmundsson, relationships and engagement with other individuals have a variety of intricate biological impacts on the brain that can impede our ability to slow down. “The brain interprets social relationships and challenges as if you were facing actual physical danger,” he explains. “Therefore, it is of utmost importance to maintain positive relationships with people in order to keep your brain healthy.”
Making the most of it
According to Sigmundsson and his team, the key to a healthy brain lies in constructive engagement. In other words, you must actively use your mind rather than letting it get rusty - just like they say: "Use it or lose it!" Engaging with purposeful activities is essential for maintaining mental resilience over time.
According to Sigmundsson, exercising regularly, sustaining meaningful relationships and pursuing our passions are essential during the aging process. These three lifestyle choices can help us keep a healthy mind while ensuring we age gracefully. With this in mind, it's clear that physical exercise, interpersonal connections and passion empower us to live life with greater quality as time passes by.
By understanding these three secrets, we can cultivate a lifestyle that supports our mental well-being. Exercise allows us to stay physically fit while also stimulating hormones and chemicals that help the brain grow. Meanwhile, meaningful relationships provide us with emotional security and a sense of being connected to something larger than ourselves.
The findings of this research are yet another reminder that in order to remain healthy, both physically and mentally, it is essential that we look after ourselves.
S1:E9 Bio-Hack Your Best Life - BRAIN conversations with Scott Robinson "The Brain Guy"
About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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