Your mind is so wonderful. About 100 billion neurons work together to keep you agile and fast in your thinking.
But just like the rest of your body, your brain may not be quite as strong when you’re a little older. Perhaps you find yourself having to write things down, forgetting appointments, or not being able to follow the conversation or event on TV without stress.
Fortunately, it is possible to exercise your mind, too.
“The keys to our nervous system are gray and white matter,” says Hermundur Sigmundsson, a professor in NTNU’s Department of Psychology.
Roughly speaking, gray matter consists of neurons – or neurons – and dendrites, while white matter provides connections between cells (myelinating axons) and contributes to the speed of transmission and distribution of signals.
Three factors contribute to better brain health:
Recent article in the magazine brain science It combines a lot of what we know from previous research into brain health. The researchers went to great lengths to be comprehensive in their theoretical perspective paper and provided 101 references to articles on how to maintain the shape of our gray and white matter.
“Three factors stand out if you want to keep your brain at its best,” says Sigmundsson.
These factors are:
- Physical exercise.
- to be social.
- Having strong interests. Learn new things and never hold back from new challenges.
This is perhaps the biggest challenge for many of us. Your body becomes lazy if you sit on your backside too much. Unfortunately, the same goes for the brain as well.
“An active lifestyle helps develop the central nervous system and counteract aging of the brain,” say Sigmundsson and colleagues.
So it is important not to get stuck in your chair. This takes effort, and there is no way around it. If you have a stable job, go to school or when you have finished work, you need to energize yourself, including physically.
Some of us are happier alone or with a few people, and we know that “hell is other people” – if we copy the phrase of writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre a little loosely. (Although his account was somewhat more complex.) But in this regard, you have to strengthen yourself.
“Relationships with and interactions with others contribute to a number of complex biological factors that can prevent the brain from slowing down,” says Sigmundsson.
Being with other people, for example through conversation or physical contact, supports good brain function.
This last point may have something to do with your personality, but if you’ve read this now, you probably already have the necessary foundation and are probably willing to learn.
“Passion, or having a strong interest in something, can be the critical driving factor that leads us to learn new things. Over time, this affects the development and maintenance of our neural networks,” says Sigmundsson.
Stay curious. Don’t give up and let everything run its course the same way all the time. You’ll never be too old to do something you’ve never done before. Perhaps now is the time to learn to play a new instrument.
Either you use it or you lose it
Sigmundsson collaborated with master’s student Benjamin H. Dybendal and Associate Professor Simone Grassini at the University of Stavanger on the comprehensive paper.
Thus their research presents a similar picture of the brain and the body. You have to exercise your brain so that it does not degrade. “Use it or lose it,” as the saying goes.
“Brain development is closely related to lifestyle. Physical exercise, relationships, and emotion help develop and maintain the basic structures of our brain as we age,” says Sigmundsson.
These three factors therefore offer some keys to maintaining a good quality of life and – hopefully – aging well.
About this Brain Health Research News
author: Steinar Brandslt
Contact: Steinar Brandslt – NTNU
picture: The image is in the public domain
original search: open access.
“Movement, relationship, and emotion in the physiological and cognitive aging of the brain” by Hermundur Sigmundsson et al. brain science
Movement, relationship, and emotion in the physiological and cognitive aging of the brain
The aim of the current paper was to present factors that are important for keeping the basic structures of a person’s brain function, i.e. gray and white matter, intact.
Numerous evidence has shown that movement, relationship, and emotion are central factors for maintaining the nervous system in gray and white matter during aging.
An active lifestyle has been shown to contribute to the development of the central nervous system and counteract the aging of the brain.
Interpersonal relationships and interactions have been shown to contribute to the complex biological factors that benefit cognitive flexibility in deteriorating.
Furthermore, the current scientific literature suggests that passion and strong interest can be the driving factor that motivates individuals to learn new things, thus influencing the development and maintenance of a functional neural network over time.
The current theoretical perspective paper aims to convey several key messages: (1) brain development is strongly influenced by lifestyle; (2) Physical training allows an individual to develop and maintain brain structures during aging, and may be one of the keys to a good quality of life for older adults; (3) Diverse stimuli are a key factor in maintaining brain structures. (4) Movement, relationship, and emotion are essential components of comparing brain gray and white matter loss.