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Increase brain performance: How you can improve your mental fitness through exercise

Increase brain performance: How you can improve your mental fitness through exercise

Sport keeps you and your body healthy and fit, that's no secret. But the physical exercise does a lot more than you might think. Because with aerobic training, such as running, you can increase your brain performance. In this article you will find out which neurotransmitters play a role in the brain and which tips you can use to improve your mental fitness through exercise.

Physical exercise and mental fitness are closely related. Because sport and exercise are effective ways to increase your brain performance. Physical activity has a positive effect on your brain functions by improving memory, thinking skills, and mood. You can also use your Increase concentrationwhen you are actively moving. Exercise can also protect you from depression, Alzheimer's and dementia.

In neuroscientific studies of the effects of long-term exercise, improved alertness based on the prefrontal cortex is also the most common finding. Movement has an immediate effect on the brain that can last a lifetime. Movement has a positive effect on the structure and function of your brain by creating new nerve cells.

 

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Increase brain performance: what happens in the head?

The brain has a complex structure. Two areas are particularly important for the connection between physical activity and mental fitness: the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for this:

  • make decisions
  • Attention
  • personality

On the other hand, there are the right and left temporal lobes, where there is a structure deep inside, the so-called Hippocampus. This contributes to the fact that new facts and events can be stored in the long-term memory.

Entirely new brain cells are produced there through movement. It is therefore important that you have a functioning hippocampus. The formation of new nerve cells, known as neurogenesis, is also limited in this area of ​​the brain. In older people, the hippocampus is often not able to cope with new situations, which leads to excessive demands and stress.

The protective effect on the brain is the most essential change that movement brings about. Like a muscle, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in the brain get bigger and stronger - your brain performance increases. This is important because these two areas in the brain are most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases and the normal age-related deterioration in cognitive abilities.1

 

 

Exercise has positive effects on increasing brain performance

Sport has these positive effects on you:

  • Prevent Depression
  • Prevent dementia
  • Reinforce a sense of health
  • Improve self-confidence
  • lower biological age
  • Increase energy
  • Increase awareness
  • Improve mood
  • Increase memory

Sport also promotes your health and prevents depression and dementia. You can't fight diseases like Alzheimer's with exercise, but you can increase and strengthen your brain power so that it takes more time for the disease to actually show its effects. Starting with sport is worthwhile even in old age and is also important because of the mental decline, as studies show.

Depressed people often have problems with the ability to concentrate and the speed at which information is processed from texts or conversations. Regular exercise will improve these possible symptoms. Here, too, there is a connection with the growth of the hippocampus. Above all, aerobics should be effective.2 For example, physical activity can reduce anxiety and increase your sense of health and your belief in yourself. Movement also distracts you from brooding and you become more aware of your own body again.3 A study also found that exercise can rejuvenate your biological age by up to nine years.4

  

Research into changes in brain performance related to exercise found: Movement is the most effective way of positively influencing the brain. With exercise you can increase your brain power, because you have more energy, your attention increases and your memory and your mood improve.

A single training session has an immediate effect on your brain and can last for at least two hours. Exercise can change the anatomy, physiology, and function of the brain. So if you want long-term effects, you have to change your exercise habits and strengthen your heart and respiratory systems.1

 

Increase brain performance with exercise: the role of lactate

Researchers from the German Sport University Cologne examined the causes of an increase in brain performance. After exercising, the test subjects achieved better results in a cognition test than before. Among other things, lactate is said to be behind thisthat occurs when the muscles move. Lactate is a form of lactic acid that acts like fuel for the nerve cells in the brain to function properly. The more we exert ourselves during an activity, the more lactate is formed.5

  

These neurotransmitters are important for your brain performance and mental fitness

With physical exertion, the brain concentration of dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin increases. The central Neurotransmitters can influence motor behavior on different levels.6

 

dopamine

The messenger substance dopamine has one great influence on your driving force. Also known as the happiness hormone, dopamine boosts your expectations and is therefore important for your motivation and goals. So if you are unmotivated, your dopamine levels could be low. However, you can increase your dopamine level with physical exercise.7

 

Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine is related to the messenger substance adrenaline. One of the most important functions is to keep your heart beating. As a stress hormone, norepinephrine also acts as a neurotransmitter and can affect your brain performance. Furthermore, norepinephrine is also for Focus and ability to concentrate responsible. An increased oxygen concentration in the brain enables you to think faster.8

 

Serotonin

As a feel-good hormone, the neurotransmitter serotonin is for yours Feelings and mood responsible. Low levels of serotonin can make you feel depressed and sluggish.9 Exercise increases your serotonin level in the long term.

 

How much sport do I have to do at least to improve my brain performance?

A study in rats found that Exercise is most effective at promoting the hippocampus when exercise is aerobic and sustained.10 It is usually sufficient if you train for at least 3 minutes 4-30 times a week. You don't have to go to an expensive gym to do this. At the beginning you can also train 1-2 times a week if you have not moved very much before and then slowly increase. Try to incorporate more movement into your everyday life with a few changes.

 

Boost brain power: tips to improve your mental fitness

Bringing more exercise into everyday life or finally doing sports again sounds easier said than done. You don't know how to start, but want to move more and increase your brain power at the same time? Then check out these tips. You will notice that you can start right away to get your body and mind in top shape. You will quickly feel how your brain performance increases with more physical activity and your level of motivation increases automatically. 

 

Make your everyday life more active

If you like to go for a walk, convert your walk in the fresh air into a power walk and expand your lap. If you are in a building with an elevator, do without the easy route and use the stairs if possible.

In the office or home office, you can also do your work on the laptop while standing. There are also special stands that serve as a standing desk. But you can also stack an increase on your table with things from your household or use an ironing board. Pay attention to the ergonomics! When working while standing, your brain performance is increased in that creativity and thinking skills are promoted and you become more productive.

You can also turn everyday things like brushing your teeth or chores into a little workout with small exercises while vacuuming or wiping. If you enjoy watching TV, you can also use the commercials for some exercises. With this you kill two birds with one stone!

 

Getting up without excuses and getting brain power going with movement

The sun is shining in the window, the alarm clock is ringing: Normally in this situation you would first check your emails and get the first boost Caffeine with a cup of coffee before you get to work? The first few times you will probably find it difficult, but try to motivate yourself and get up and move around as soon as the alarm goes off.

Create new morning routines and practice yoga or go for a run outside. Afterwards, not only does the morning shower and coffee feel better, you will also quickly notice that your mental fitness improves and you have more attention for your tasks during the day, because exercise can also increase concentration.

 

Take an active break when your head is buzzing

Have you been in the office for a few hours or are you sitting in front of your desk, can no longer think clearly and just can't concentrate on your work? Do you feel that your brain power is at a low level? In order to increase this, you first have to recharge your batteries. So you should get yours Take your next break outside, take a walk and take a deep breath. If that is not possible, try moving around the building for a few minutes or do small exercises such as squats to briefly release yourself from your tasks.

Studies have shown that the motor cortex is activated and brain activity changes. This area is responsible for movement and coordination. In return, the prefrontal cortex is shut down.

So that means:

  • the head becomes free again
  • the brain power increases
  • the ability to concentrate is improved

In this way, you can focus your attention fully on your tasks and achieve top performance.

 

Be aware of your successes and motivate yourself

If you do sport regularly and you consciously notice the first successes and progress in your physical fitness, this also has a positive effect on your mental fitness, for example by increasing your self-esteem.

After a few training units you will notice that your strength and endurance improve, you can last longer and you can set your goals higher. This strengthens physical fitness and increases brain performance. By influencing your own abilities in the course of action, you have more confidence in yourself to achieve your goals outside of sport. This self-efficacy motivates you to stick with it.

 

Document your goals and successes

If you document your goals and successes, be it in written or pictorial form, you can always keep them in mind and imagine what it will be like and feel when you have achieved your goal. For example, you can use a Keep a training log or take photos at regular intervals. If, after some time, you look at the goals you have achieved so far, this will boost your determination and perseverance and can motivate you to celebrate further successes.4 

You should always be on the way to your great goal set small milestones. Be patient - because if you set goals that are too high in too short a time that you may not be able to meet, it will only lead to frustration.

 

Apps remind you to reach your goals

Especially at the beginning, you sometimes need a kick in the buttocks or a raised index finger to remind you to do more exercise. To do this, you can use apps that, for example, alert you if you have not yet reached your number of steps or ask yourself whether you have already completed your training today.

If you missed out on physical activity during the day, grab a friend and take another lap around your block. Always remember, exercise is not only good for the body, it also improves your brain performance.

 

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Summary

So you can get started right away and increase your brain performance directly. Through exercise you have a positive effect on your mood, ability to concentrate and your memory, which also has a long-term effect and can protect against diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Physical activity can significantly increase one's own awareness and is therefore also a good remedy for people who suffer from depression.

Many different studies show that exercise improves mental fitness by increasing the ability to think. This includes self-control, attention, memory, and the ability to strategically plan and make decisions.11 With this know-how and the implementation of our tips, you are guaranteed to take your brain power to the next level!

 

 

* Pantothenic acid contributes to normal mental performance. Vitamin B12 helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.

 

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHY0FxzoKZE

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3072565

[3] https://wise-mind.de/2018/02/21/warum-sport-so-gut-tut-zhabenhaenge- between-koerperlicher-fitness-und-mentaler-gesundheit-aufgedeckt

[4] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743517301470

[5] https://www.swr.de/blog/diedurchblicker/2015/01/01/bewegung-fuers-gehirn-sport-macht-schlau-aber-warum/

[6] https://www.germanjournalsportsmedicine.com/fileadmin/content/archiv2001/heft12/a04_12_01.pdf

[7] https://www.dasgehirn.info/handeln/lernen/lernen-durch-verknuepfen

[8] http://www.biologie-schule.de/noradrenalin

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26805875

[10] https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP271552

[11] https://www.scinexx.de/news/medizin/sport-hilft-auch-dem-juengeren-gehirn/