Sport and exercise are important for our health! So far no surprise. More and more researchers, however, are beginning to establish a connection between physical exercise and its concrete effect on the brain.
Recently, these theories have been investigated in the course of Alzheimer’s research. Doctors and researchers came to the conclusion that the regular promotion of the brain through movement can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and even delay them. But also in everyday life, in the here and now, you are already benefiting. Sport and exercise have a direct effect on the nervous system.
Our central nervous system would be comparable with our inner navigator. If, for example, you climb from the brake to the accelerator pedal in the car, you don’t have to look. Our nervous system helps us to perceive spaces and to move consciously and unconsciously safely in them.
These abilities are also lost in old age. In today’s culture, we need to move much less, which means that we lose many of our brain’s abilities and functions much earlier.
Fortunately, there are some really simple things you can do yourself to postpone this process so that you can live as long, healthy and active a life as possible.
Move your Brain
In particular, there are three forms of movement which, according to many researchers, have particularly positive effects on the brain, our nervous system: Strength training, balance training and walking. Our nervous system benefits differently from these forms of movement.
Weightlifting gives us the opportunity to train in a predictable environment to overcome obstacles in a controlled way. According to researchers, this is intended to increase mental resilience and mental resistance. This adaptation in turn can help you to become more resilient in everyday life. This means that weight lifting not only trains your muscles, but also your brain and the entire central nervous system.
And thus, so to speak, the way you interact with your environment on several levels.
Do you know this when you do a new sport or exercise and you find that you sweat more and the load seems higher than during your possibly even more demanding regular training? This is not necessarily due to less trained muscle groups, but also to our brain and nervous system, which is working particularly hard due to the new stimuli. But that challenge to our brain should be something we should do all our lives.
As children we have jumped on walls and ledges practically at every opportunity and are long-balanced on it. The older we get, the less we train our sense of balance and the less we try out. Balance and body awareness are so important and decisive for our entire everyday life.
To check how well your balance is, hop on one leg for about 30 seconds, then stand on that leg and close your eyes! – Not that easy, is it? We need our sense of balance in everything we do, because without it we could not even navigate through rooms, let alone stand up straight. Put your nervous system in front of new challenges through various exercises.
It doesn’t matter whether you actually balance, do box jumps or prefer one-sided squats. It is important to train the weaker side of the body as well. The effects of the environment around us are not always the same and certainly not linear. Thus, by focusing on the weaker side, we train ourselves to be able to deal better with these stimuli.
Number one among the brain’s favourite types of movement – and this is also great news for all sports fans – is walking. Research has shown that even 11 minutes of walking can extend your life by a good two years. Regular walking can prevent insulin resistance, which can help keep the brain younger. The supreme discipline in walking would be 7,000 – 10,000 steps a day – even if you get off one stop earlier, you can only benefit from it.
Surprise your brain and yourself with it
Our brain always wants to be surprised. If we always only do what we can already do, how can we develop ourselves and our abilities? Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zones to reach new terrain. For those who like running or going to the gym anyway, these tips are easy to implement. But everyone else is lucky too! Let’s summarize again: Walking, strength, balance: why not make your next shopping trip on foot, carry the heavy bags home and balance over the paving stones?
Scatter movement into your everyday life where you can. Test different forms of movement and promote your brain. You will be surprised how quickly your central nervous system reacts to the new stimuli and you will notice positive physical and mental changes.