Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021

Swimming gives your brain a boost – but scientists don’t know yet why it’s better than other aerobic activities

by: Seena Mathew  - Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor     Swimming offers a host of beneficial effects on the brain. ..

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 by: Seena Mathew  - Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor     




Swimming offers a host of beneficial effects on the brain. Stanislaw Pytel/Stone via Getty Images


It’s no secret that aerobic exercise can help stave off some of the ravages of aging. But a growing body of research suggests that swimming might provide a unique boost to brain health.

Regular swimming has been shown to improve memory, cognitive function, immune response and mood. Swimming may also help repair damage from stress and forge new neural connections in the brain.

But scientists are still trying to unravel how and why swimming, in particular, produces these brain-enhancing effects.

As a neurobiologist trained in brain physiology, a fitness enthusiast and a mom, I spend hours at the local pool during the summer. It’s not unusual to see children gleefully splashing and swimming while their parents sunbathe at a distance – and I’ve been one of those parents observing from the poolside plenty of times. But if more adults recognized the cognitive and mental health benefits of swimming, they might be more inclined to jump in the pool alongside their kids.

New and improved brain cells and connections

Until the 1960s, scientists believed that the number of neurons and synaptic connections in the human brain were finite and that, once damaged, these brain cells could not be replaced. But that idea was debunked as researchers began to see ample evidence for the birth of neurons, or neurogenesis, in adult brains of humans and other animals.

Now, there is clear evidence that aerobic exercise can contribute to neurogenesis and play a key role in helping to reverse or repair damage to neurons and their connections in both mammals and fish.

Research shows that one of the key ways these changes occur in response to exercise is through increased levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. The neural plasticity, or ability of the brain to change, that this protein stimulates has been shown to boost cognitive function, including learning and memory. 


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By: Stuart http://www.blogger.com/profile/[email protected]
Title: Swimming gives your brain a boost – but scientists don’t know yet why it’s better than other aerobic activities
Sourced From: wwwmsviewsandrelatednews.blogspot.com/feeds/5954628167119772108/comments/default
Published Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2021 20:25:00 +0000

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