Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner

EXERCISE, MOVE, DON'T SIT FOR LONG -- THE WHYS

WHY IS MOVING AROUND SO IMPORTANT? DON'T BE A COUCH POTATO!    Even if you exercise an hour or two a day and then sit around--your body stops functioning as it should We are meant to be moving with short rests, not resting with short exercise periods. So, even if you're watching TV, stretch your arms above your head, tap your feet, bend down to the floor with your hands, twist side to side, get up and touch your toes, etc., during every commercial, even dance around the table or chair you're sitting in. Here's what you'll do if you move more 
 

Increases blood flow to your brain, which allows it to almost immediately function better. It also promotes genetic changes. The increased blood flow adapts your brain to turn different genes on or off, and many of these changes help protect against diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Promotes growth of new brain cells. In your hippocampus, these new brain cells help boost memory and learning.20

Helps preserve both gray and white matter in your brain, which prevents cognitive deterioration that can occur with age.21,22

Triggers the release of neurotransmitters, including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate and GABA. Some of these are well-known for their role in mood control. Not surprisingly, exercise is one of the most effective prevention- and treatment strategies for depression.

Increases brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5 that then triggers the production of BDNF, which has remarkable rejuvenating abilities. In your brain, BDNF both preserves existing brain cells,23 and activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, effectively making your brain grow larger.24

Decreases BMP and boosts Noggin: Bone-morphogenetic protein (BMP) slows down the creation of new neurons, thereby reducing neurogenesis. If you have high levels of BMP, your brain slows and grows less nimble. Exercise reduces the impact of BMP, allowing your adult stem cells to continue performing their vital functions of keeping your brain agile.

In animal research, mice with access to running wheels reduced the BMP in their brains by half in just one week.25,26 In addition, they also had a notable increase in another brain protein called Noggin, which acts as a BMP antagonist.

So, exercise not only reduces the detrimental effects of BMP, it simultaneously boosts the more beneficial Noggin as well. This complex interplay between BMP and Noggin appears to be yet another powerful factor that helps ensure the proliferation and youthfulness of your neurons.

Reduces plaque formation: By altering the way damaging proteins reside inside your brain, exercise may help slow the development of Alzheimer's disease.27

REFERENCES:
 
 

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