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Exercise, nutrition & brain function

Health & FitnessPosted by Jean Dar Wed, April 06, 2011 17:32:02
Brain function benefits from exercise and nutrition

Increasing evidence shows that exercise has fundamental benefits for brain function, and will aid learning and memory in humans and animals. An active lifestyle could prevent, or delay, loss of cognitive function with aging or neurodegenerative disease such as ataxia and dementia. Recent research shows that the effects of exercise on the brain can be increased with synchronous consumption of natural nutrients, such as omega fatty acids (high levels are found in herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel and anchovies) or plant polyphenols (sometimes called tannic acid or antioxidants, are found in fruits, vegetables, wine, fruit juices etc). The potential synergy between diet and exercise could involve common cellular pathways important for neurogenesis, cell survival, vascular function and synaptic plasticity. Optimal maintenance of brain health might depend on exercise and intake of natural dietary products.

Study after study has now shown that the risk of being subjected to cardiovascular, metabolic and metastatic diseases, is alleviated by exercise and a diet containing fruits and vegetables. It is however not as well understood that exercise and a healthy diet also provide substantial benefits for brain function. Physical activity improves cognition, delay age-related memory decline, protects against brain damage caused by stroke, boosts recovery after injury and is an antidepressant.

Like exercise, nutrition affects brain function too. An intake of food high in saturated fats and cholesterol increases the risk of cognitive decline, whereas dietary restriction benefits learning and protects the brain from oxidative stress. Increasing evidence shows also that some dietary supplements enhance learning and memory. Of interest are the omega fatty acids, certain spices, teas and fruits. These supplements enhance the benefits of exercise for brain function. Research is today being carried out on possible common mechanisms of action for exercise and diet on cognition.

The statements above are based on scientific review articles.

My new high-intensity training programme is coming along just fine, as seen on the photo above. I'm currently working my way through the ninth week of it, having made remarkable strength gains every workout session. Par exemple: I'm today lifting 25% heavier dumbbells in the decline press than in January, and that's after only nine chest workouts! This training routine flows 100% from evidence-based science, and eight and a half weeks of training has resulted in some additional 2,5 kg of lean muscle mass!

I should also mention that these gains in strength and muscle mass depends on superb nutrition and nutritional timing - what nutrients I consume and when. Surely my food costs have skyrocketed compared to before entering this training system, but I do feel much stronger and my recovery time has shortened considerably.

With this high-intensity training programme, I haven't had any indications of injuries worth mentioning. I ruptured two separate blood vessels in my right hand a month ago, but that didn't result in any injuries though. With the injury preventing exercises, superb nutrition and nutritional timing, along with a sensible amount of time spent in the gym, I can't wait for the next workout session!

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