Exercise May Have Neuroprotective Effects

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy and happy.

It not only improves overall physical condition, but it also improves general health and mental health.

Because it works on so many processes at a cellular level, physical exercise is also an effective preventative measure against neurodegenerative diseases.

Neuroprotection means that the neuronal cells are protected from premature death because all the processes in the body that lead to it are inhibited.

Age is the biggest natural risk for the development of neurodegenerative diseases, however, physical exercise could greatly reduce the risk.

A scientific review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences discusses the neuroprotective effects of physical exercise.

What’s Important

There is a large prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In fact, research shows that in 2018 5.8 million Americans had Alzheimer’s disease, and this number is expected to rise to 13.8 million by mid-century. [1]

Over the years, many studies have been conducted to examine the effects of exercise on the brain, and most of them seem to prove that exercising is associated with neuroprotection.

According to epidemiological studies, regular exercise reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 45% and dementia by 28%. [2]

Some Details

Any lifestyle change towards the better is beneficial, but the results are optimal when exercise is included.

The reason why physical activity can be so beneficial in slowing down the neurodegenerative processes is that it enhances the production of neurotrophic factors, neurotransmitters, and hormones.

Exercising stimulates the growth and development of nervous tissue and it promotes neuroplasticity in that it aids the brain in forming new neural connections.

It also optimizes the body’s physiological responses to physical and emotional stress.

It strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system, autonomic nervous system, and central nervous system.

Having these effects on the body, exercise inevitably improves processes like memory, cognition, sleep, and mood.

Bottom Line

Exercising on a regular basis is a well-established healthy activity and it benefits every part of the body.

This review indicates that any form of physical activity is beneficial for protecting the brain from neurodegenerative diseases.


Resource: Mahalakshmi, B.; Maurya, N.; Lee, S.-D.; Bharath Kumar, V. Possible Neuroprotective Mechanisms of Physical Exercise in Neurodegeneration. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 5895. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165895 

References:
1.https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1016/j.jalz.2018.02.001
2.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18570697/
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