The most important thing to do for a healthy brain (RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW Part 3)
It is neither sudoku, reading or any other type of mental exercises. The single most important thing for our brain to prevent ageing, feel better, get better memory, better concentration, thinking faster, get more creative, and less stressed is to:
Run away from stress
In this article I will explain how movement strengthens the brain related to stress. And also talk more about which is the most optimal way of exercising.
According to a large amount of scientific studies the last years and some of the top researchers in the field, physical exercise is the most important thing you can do for your brain. Particularly cardio and running.
The main reason I started running, began to like it and felt is was meaningful was exactly this. I felt more clear in my mind, calmer and better prepared to handle everyday challenges. The purpose is not to run in a certain pace or distance, "to perform". I am running to improve my brain. You could say running keep me sane in some way (instead of a nervous wreck...). Why is it this way?
When we are stressed our bodies are pumping out stress hormones and prepare us to fight or flight a threat. The problem is that the dangers today often don't need a physical reaction. The threats has changed, but not our bodies and brains. They are still on the savannah and made to move. If the stressors are sustained over weeks, months and years, those hormones can ruin our health, lead to several stress related diseases such as heart diseases, depression, chronic pain and also exacerbate most other diseases. In fact high levels of cortisol even break down the brains area for memory - hippocampus. Hippocampus acts as a counterweight to amygdala, the area of the brain that signals danger and increases our cortisol levels. Exercise is shown to both strengten the hippocampus and lower the cortisol levels.
A specialist in psychiatry here in Sweden, Anders Hansen, describes this phenomena very well. When physically active, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. Afterwards they lower. The interesting thing is that the more you move, the less cortisol rises during the activity itself and the more it drops after the activity. You respond with less and less cortisol when you train. Then, when stressed for reasons other than physical activity, you don't react with the same cortisol increase - and get less stressed.
Movement, such as running, also increase the blood supply to the brain with up to 20 percent and make the whole organ work better. Regular exercise is really important for a healthy brain. The inactivity in todays society leads not only to diabetes and overweight - but also to cognitive consequences. Stress, anxiety and depression are some of the main diseases today. But it's shown that people that are psychical active handle stress better, recover faster and have less risk of relapse.
The Anti stress workout
Every step have a positive impact but to get the best anti stress effect you need to:
- Do some kind of cardio where you get your heart rate increase.
- 3 times per week.
- At least 30 minutes per time.
It can take weeks or months to feel the results. But what can be more valuable than a healthy brain.
What do you think about running?
This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor or psychiatrist. If you are experiencing strong prolonged stress, like burnout or fatigue syndrome, be careful with the exercise and ask your doctor for advice. It could be too much stress on the body and fair enough with shorter walks for example to not stimulate the sympathetic nervous system too much.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW - This is Steemit Stress Series
As a part of my goal to help create an oasis of wellbeing on Steemit I will write articles about different aspects of stress and and how to live more mindful.
Please comment and write your questions below or message me on Steemit.chat @givemeyoursteem . I think it's valuable to share our experiences and discuss different aspects of stress together.