Have you been feeling more tired of late? Or having trouble recalling items you’ve previously crammed, like a mental shopping list, your mum or best friend’s number, not to worry, these things do happen- and you can do something about it now. Physical exercise as well as mental exercises can remedy your symptoms.
Regular physical exercise like 30-60 minutes of fast walking, several times a week, has been shown to improve and maintain brain health. This is because during exercise, blood flow to the part of the brain responsible for the movements increase. In humans, physical exercise has been found to improve the brains executive function- a set of abilities that allows you select behavior that is appropriate or to inhibit inappropriate behavior and focus on the job at hand in spite of distraction.
Exercise also causes the release of growth factors- proteins that increase the number of connections between neurons, and the formation of neurons in the hippocampus- the part of the brain that controls memory. Physical exercise also helps the brain by improving cardiovascular health, preventing strokes and heart attacks that can cause brain damage.
Mental fitness exercises on the other hand include activities like solving puzzles, sudoku, writing with the left hand if you are right handed, or playing mentally challenging games like chess. Mental exercises can help maintain cognitive performance and improve declining memory. The more you indulge in them the more skills your brain acquire. So stop throwing out old news paper, that sudoku on the back cover may be just what you need. Or stop to help your child solve a puzzle, play internet chess with your pal or learn a new language!
For good brain health one should regularly do both physical and mental fitness tasks.