(NaturalHealth365) Would you like to maximize your brain function? Most people would agree that a healthy brain leads to better decisions and greater prosperity. So, prepare yourself – as we explore the inner workings of the human brain and how to generate greater brain power.
The human brain is the most magnificent of all creations. The brain consists of an amazing network of high energy microscopic neurons that allow us to think, learn, reason, move and experience our environment. This system is dynamic in that it is constantly growing and adapting.
Areas of the brain are driven through activity. With the right form of movement the brain adapts to become stronger and better able to accomplish daily tasks. Of course, the opposite is true as well.
Where there is less activity, there is regression and atrophy.
Have you ever heard of the “principle of neuroplasticity”? The brain is a constantly adapting structure that depends on movement for energy and instruction. “You either use it or you lose it.”
A healthy brain moves at lightning speed
Neurons are constantly communicating with each other through electrical impulses and chemical signals. Information travels in the form of electrical impulses and activates messenger chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters flow into the synapse and connect the message to the next series of neurons.
Neurons connect with each other to form networks that carry a tremendous amount of information from one area of the brain to another. Typical neuron networks have over 10,000 synapses. Electrical impulses travel across these neurons at over four hundred miles per hour. This speed allows us to process language, feel inspired, recall a memory and laugh at a joke in a moment’s notice.
Brain-based exercises create new and stronger synapses – which is the space between neurons. Synaptic density is associated with greater memory and creativity. The brain synapses begin degenerating after the age of twenty but brain-based exercises help to strengthen these connections.
Discover how “Neurobics” can strengthen brain function
Neurobics is a term that was described by the late neurobologist – Lawrenece Katz and Manning Rubin. It refers to the physiological effects of unique and non-routine ways of thinking and moving and their effects on the brain. Routine activities become so automatic in the brain that they require less brain activity. Unique activities produce more neurotransmitters and have a greater effect on altering and strengthening neurons and synaptic connections.
Neurobic exercises must be different than typical activities that you do and they can incorporate all of your five senses.
Examples of neurobic exercises are listed below:
Writing or using a utensil with your non-dominant hand.
Walking down your hallway with your eyes closed.
1-leg balancing exercises.
Spend time outside smelling all the plants and flowers.
Eat foods with lots of colors to stimulate your visual senses.
Feel the texture of different objects like rocks, shells, etc.
Additional neurobic activities include:
The use of essential oils – take a sniff to excite your brain.
Brushing the teeth with your non-dominant hand.
Listening to classical music or music that has different tones, melodies and instruments than you are used to listening too.
Surround yourself with lots of different colors.
Play a new instrument or try a new sporting activity.
Do a crossword puzzle.
Walk barefoot outside and pay attention to the unique feel of the rocks and ground with your feet.
Sit in a park and journal about all the unique sounds and smells you are experiencing.
Read a book or recite a speech out-loud while pacing with your eyes closed
Try a new, healthy dish with unique flavors you are not accustomed too.
A closer look at how the brain drives our muscles
The brain also drives the skeletal muscles and the skeletal muscles help drive higher brain function. There is such an intimate connection between the brain and muscles that powerful, long-standing emotional memories are known to be released during deep massage and chiropractic care.
Movement deficiency is a leading cause of degenerative disease and early death. Lack of healthy motion causes the neural synapses to atrophy.
In other words, sedentary living; poor posture; and bad spinal health accelerate the degenerative processes of the brain.
The story behind the cerebellum – “the little brain that could”
The cerebellum constitutes just 10 percent of the total volume of the brain but amazingly it contains over 50 percent of the neurons in the entire human brain. The cerebellum’s job is to modify and adapt movement patterns to improve coordination and balance. Incredibly, before any movement (even something as simple as bending over to pick up a pen) is even initiated, the cerebellum, through a feed-forward mechanism has already perceived the intended motion up to six times and fires down to contract the core musculature to prepare for the anticipated movement.
Our memory comes from the Hippocampus
Movement is essential for a healthy hippocampus and enhanced levels of memory consolidation. Dynamic exercise that uses novel techniques has been shown to rapidly improve memory centers as opposed to standard single-joint exercises. This form of exercise has been shown to increase Growth Factor (IGF) and BDNF (bone-derived neurotrophic factor) which are essential for healthy neurons, formation of new neurons, synapses between neurons and increased neuronal learning.
The importance of the Frontal Lobe
The critical center for learning and emotional control. The frontal lobe functions can be remembered with the 3 “T’s” for tension, tact, and tenacity.
Tension: The unique ability of a human to rise above emotional reactions, and selfish – primitative behaviors. Tact: The ability to understand and apply socially acceptable behaviors. Tenacity: The ability to focus on one thing for a period of time.
Children with ADHD are known to have poor-functioning frontal cortices and thus they have an inability to apply the 3 T’s effectively.
Brain-based exercise, along with nutritional, detoxification, and spinal corrective recommendations have been shown to be an extremely powerful tool for individuals with ADHD.
The value of full body – novel and challenging movements
The brain is driven through full body movements that are unique and challenging. Novel exercises that utilize an unstable atmosphere such as balancing on 1-leg, using a stability ball, BOSU ball, alternating 1-leg standing position, etc. – incorporate an incredible level of cerebellar, hippocampal, and frontal lobe activity in order to maintain balance and coordination in such a dynamic environment. A consistent diet of new, unstable, high demand exercises is an incredible super-star supplement for the cerebellum, frontal lobes, and hippocampus.
If you consider walking your major form of exercise – try some of these dynamic, holistic movements:
1) Try stopping every 2 minutes while you walk and do 30 seconds of high knee sprinting in place and slap your opposite hand to opposite knee.
2. Try 30 seconds of stepping with one leg and punching forward and across your body with the other arm. Step with left leg and punch across with right arm and then do the opposite.
3. Spend time walking backwards, side-to-side and doing karaoke type dance moves to get full rotation into the hips. This trains the body in all three planes and fires off many more neuronal networks than traditional walking.
If you are already exercising regularly be sure to incorporate core stability work, surge training and resistance training into your schedule. You will also want to work on your balance by utilizing stability balls, doing one legged exercises, movements with your eyes closed, etc.
About the author: Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information – visit: DrJockers.com. Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance phone consultations to help you beat disease and reach your health goals.
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