Saturday, October 1, 2011

Does exercise strengthen your brain? (#Infographic)

While the brain is considered an organ, rather than a muscle, that doesn't stop us from continuing to refer to it as a muscle. Scientifically speaking, we'll always be incorrect in this reference. But if you think about it, there does seem to be some truth to the comparison on a very generic level. As the epicenter of our central nervous system, it directs the rest of our body to function—much like muscles direct our skeletal system.  Of course, the direction is different, which is why our brains are not muscles. But you follow the comparison, right?

Since our brains are not muscles, we cannot physically pump them up like our biceps or our quads, but we can strengthen them. With exercise, of course—at least that's what a group of South Carolina scientists are suggesting. Our brains aren't the same as mice brains, but they are similar enough to warrant belief in the results of a study done on them. They concluded that "in mice at least, two months of exercise training 'is sufficient stimulus to increase mitochondrial biogenesis'."

The New York Times reports on the study itself, should you wish to read it, but what it basically translates to is a representation that those little tiny mice brains are being re-energized with exercise. (They made 'em run on a little tiny mousemill, which makes me chuckle a bit.) Why is this important? Further testing on humans is necessary, but could lead to advancements in Parkinson's and other brain-related diseases. And really, let's be honest, it's just another reason why you should be up and exercising. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, you've heard that before. In fact, I think the mind (well...the brain) is fairly fascinating. Check out this infographic:

15 Things You Didn't Know about the Brain

HOLD UP. There's enough stuff in my brain to circle Earth four times? Fricken' awesome! And sorta weird, but I'll take it. Obviously. (I just hope I never experience Exploding Head Syndrome. Sounds wicked painful.)

But that's enough about our brains. My house smells like carrot cake and I must attend to the source of the smell. More on that tomorrow.

1 comment:

Erin M. said...

I love this article. I've never really thought about this but it makes sense. I have heard that doing difficult moves with both arms working opposite of one another also strengthens your mind because you really have to focus on the moves. For example, standing and doing chest presses while having your leg go off to the right or to the left. Doing different moves that don't coincide help strengthen your mind. Interesting, very interesting.

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