Best exercise for your brain

Research in the last 10 years has demonstrated
that a single session of aerobic exercise is enough to enhance neuroplasticity in the
human brain. When we learn a motor skill our brain reorganises
its connections between neurons and strengthens those connections or weakens them and this
is what we call brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity underlies development from
infancy to adulthood – brain development. It’s also important for things like learning
and formation of new memories, learning new skills and also is really important for recovery
from brain injury or stroke. So the aim of our study was to collate the
research from the last 10 years to try to gain a better understanding of what the optimal
type, intensity and duration of aerobic exercise is for the best plasticity outcomes in healthy
adults. Our results suggested that a bout of high
intensity interval training or a bout of moderate intensity continuous training were the best
exercise prescriptions for brain plasticity. There are several explanations that may help
to understand this. One of those is to do with cortisol which is the stress hormone.
Cortisol is known to increase when we do high intensity exercise but we believe spacing
the high intensity with some breaks in between allows the cortisol to be maintained at a
level that doesn’t block the plasticity response.


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