Fitness , exercise and the brain

Aerobic exercise promotes adult neurogenesis by increasing the production of neurotrophic factors (compounds that promote growth or survival of neurons), such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).[46][47][48] Exercise-induced neurogenesis in the hippocampus is associated with measurable improvements in spatial memory.[49][50][51][52]

Consistent aerobic exercise over a period of several months induces marked clinically significant improvements in executive function (i.e., the “cognitive control” of behavior) and increased gray matter volume in multiple brain regions, particularly those that give rise to cognitive control.[48][49][53][54]

The brain structures that show the greatest improvements in gray matter volume in response to aerobic exercise are the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus;[48][49][50] moderate improvements are seen in the anterior cingulate cortex, parietal cortex, cerebellum, caudate nucleus, and nucleus accumbens.[48][49][50]

Higher physical fitness scores (measured by VO2 max) are associated with better executive function, faster processing speed, and greater volume of the hippocampus, caudate nucleus, and nucleus accumbens.

Author: connie dello buono

Health educator, author and enterpreneur motherhealth@gmail.com or conniedbuono@gmail.com ; cell 408-854-1883 Helping families in the bay area by providing compassionate and live-in caregivers for homebound bay area seniors. Blogs at www.clubalthea.com Developing a new site, www.avatarcare.net , for early cancer detection using genetics tests, telemedicine with electronic appointment scheduling with doctors, video chat with doctors, matching care providers with health consumers and a health concierge for all to reduce chronic care cost, find cancer cure and coordinate health care using predictive medicine and participatory.

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