Exercise Braces Up Your Psyche!

It is a well-known fact that an hour or so of rigorous physical activity gives you a portion of strength and health. Not only does it shape your body, but also improves your cognitive potential. How and why does that happen? A resent scientific research showed that physical training, particularly aerobics and running, influences neuronal activity in the brain. It takes a little closer look at neurogenesis to understand the mechanism.

It is a well-known fact that an hour or so of rigorous physical activity gives you a portion of strength and health. Not only does it shape your body, but also improves your cognitive potential. How and why does that happen? A resent scientific research showed that physical training, particularly aerobics and running, influences neuronal activity in the brain. It takes a little closer look at neurogenesis to understand the mechanism.


Get Hooked on the Drugs Your Body Gives You!

According to research held by a scientific team of the University of Ottawa, Canada, physical activity contributes to the formation of new brain cells (neurons) and repair of damaged ones. The conclusion was made after studies, which involved the use of biological materials on mice.

Every time we take up a new thing, our brain is forced to develop new neuronal connections, which are going to coordinate this new activity. The same thing happens when we go for a new exercise. However, there is more to it than simple learning a new thing.

How would you explain an onrush of vigor and euphoria after a long run or aerobic session? The explanation is: as you exercise, your body begins to produce opioids, which have an effect similar to some drugs. These substances influence areas in your brain, which regulate emotions. This makes you feel much better physically and psychologically. However, feelings do not tell the whole story yet.

Scientists at the University of Ottawa have discovered that running and aerobic exercises trigger the production and release of VGF (nerve growth factor) – a protein, which regulates energy homeostasis and plasticity in the brain.

In their study they used mice that had movement problems due to genetic abnormalities observed in the cerebellum. Also, the mice had a very low life expectancy. They tried to rebuild their cerebellums by two ways: putting them in wheels for exercise and VGF injections. Both methods proved effective: the mice that had to go through the procedures eventually showed better movements and had longer lifespans. Simply put, the scientists launched neurogenesis in the mice’s brains and thus improved the structure.

Although this might seem like a good solution, it is not that simple. First, there is little or no evidence whether or not this method really works for humans. Not infrequently, it takes years and even decades for effects from naturally produced substances to surface. Second, the VGF dose the scientists gave to the mice is no simple injection. Indeed, the mice were inoculated with a kind of virus, which carried VGF. Carrying out this sort of experiment on humans is considered extremely unethical, and there is little chance that we are going to witness something like that in the foreseeable future.


Your Body Tells You What!

That means that right now there is no way for us to test VGF’s influence on ourselves except as said above: take up running and join an aerobic group. At least we know for certain: this method does a lot of good to your body and has no adverse side effects. Besides, it will charge you with positive emotions for the rest of the day, and there is hardly a more vital thing for your physical and mental health than a shot of positive energy every day!

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