Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
formats

BDNF and Exercise for Brain Health

What Is BDNF?

Alternatively termed BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor is an integral protein in human brains that promotes brain health and regulates neuronal development and function. It acts as a fertilizer of the brain’s neurons, making them grow quickly and develop stronger connections. It is closely related to neuroplasticity, a process that helps the human brain adapt and learn to overcome new puzzles and challenges.

Studies demonstrate that increased BDNF levels can assist in overall neurological function, learning included. This means learning will be more difficult where there are low levels. In fact, low BDNF levels have been linked to such health complications as dementia, depression, and impaired cognitive capacity.

Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Exercise

Exercise is important not only for the heart and lungs, but also for the brain. It positively affects molecular and cellular processes that boost BDNF levels. This explains why working-out has a positive impact on brain health.  Many neurologists recommend that we should participate in a minimum of five sessions of moderate intensity aerobic workouts lasting at least 30 minutes weekly to maximize the benefits of exercise on neurotrophin production.

Exercise can result in remarkable improvements in mood and feelings of well being. It is suggested that this impact is largely as a result of neurotrophins being released that alter the levels of dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals greatly linked with well being and mood. Furthermore, neurotrophin-producing exercise has been applied in prison systems to great effect, resulting in less deviant activities and inmate violence.

Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor & Rehabilitation

Injured athletes need to be enlightened of brain derived neurotrophic factor’s role in enhancing plasticity that is crucial for rehabilitation. Studies conducted indicate that rehabilitation must have an influence on the brain circuitry to realize success. Brain derived neurotrophic factor release together with exercise can potentially improve the vital circuits more quickly than when exercise has not been incorporated.

How to Increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor Levels

Ensure that you regulate your daily caloric consumption by modifying your diet. Studies carried out on mice demonstrated that diet restriction in experimental mice enhanced brain derived neurotrophic factor levels.

Be sure to include turmeric in your diet. Turmeric is replete with curcumin, a crucial component that causes an increase in the levels of this integral protein.

What is more, ensure that you take the necessary steps that will help enrich your surrounding and receive stimulation. For instance, make new friends, meet new people and travel to those places you haven’t been before. Reportedly, complexity of one’s surrounding environment ensures his or her brain receives adequate stimulation that consequently increases brain derived neurotrophic factor levels.

Keep learning something new, be it in an academic course of study, a talent, or an artistic pursuit. Continually seeking new information helps in neurogenesis.

Conclusion

In essence, brain derived neurotrophic factor will greatly influence how easily the human brain can adapt and learn to effectively complete new challenges. Be sure to incorporate routine exercise to enhance your neurogenesis levels.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

New Beginning Physical Therapy, Inc. provides the highest level of rehabilitative care available. Our therapists are all highly trained and licensed physical therapy professionals. Our Passion is to make a dramatic, positive impact in our clients’ lives. We love what we do! Nothing could be more rewarding for us than facilitating your path to wellnessWe are in Palm Desert, California, and serve the entire Coachella Valley.

 

formats

Understanding Neuroplasticity

What is Neuroplasticity?neuroplasticity

Alternatively termed brain plasticity, neuroplasticity is the human brain’s ability to change and continually adapt and develop cognitive abilities including language development. It’s the physiological changes in the brain that occur as we interact with the environment. Research studies demonstrate that our brains are malleable and bear the potential to modify structures and neural mechanisms, including those linked to language development.

The human brain uses neurons to relay messages from the cerebellum, brain stem and subcortical structures to predetermined cortex areas. This interaction creates experiences that help one’s brain modify itself so as to learn practical skills and competencies. Generally, neuroplasticity decreases as we age, thus making it more difficult to learn a new language as an individual gets older.

Brain Plasticity at Work

One of the ways brain plasticity may function is when one suffers traumatic brain injuries. Although a segment of his brain could be damaged, this doesn’t necessarily bear the implication that the function governed by that segment is lost forever.

In instances where a particular function is lost, the human brain adapts by growing new synapses to restore that function. As such, things like occupational and physical therapy are crucial during early recovery from stroke. Encouraging the brain to exhibit brain plasticity is crucial in realizing desirable recovery results.

Brain plasticity is being applied in fields such as psychiatry and psychotherapy. Individuals who have exhibited signs of never changing have been found to in fact change in many instances. If undesirable behavior originates from the brain utilizing the same synapses each time, there are ways of deleting such behaviors and encouraging new pathways to develop. Therapy approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy will help you replace old, destructive behaviors with new ones.

In addition, brain plasticity stimulates aging brains to continually develop. The idea of the brain being fixed could gradually lead to deterioration in senior citizens. Most neurologists recommend that seniors engage in brain puzzles, exercises and any activity with the capacity to pose a mental challenge.

Neuroplasticity Exercises

Learning Exercises

Anything that helps our brains learn new things is vital to brain plasticity. Whether one is studying complex stuff or just doing simple exercises, his brain will commence to form new connections when he learns new things. If you want to boost the plasticity of your brain even further, be sure to engage in activities such as learning to play musical instruments or learning to play a new game.

Computer Exercises

Computer exercises are essential for one’s brain plasticity since such exercises can automatically adjust the difficulty level to keep one challenged and engaged throughout. Electronic games are preferred to traditional games since they present different situations and experiences every time one plays them, consequently making one’s mind find new solutions and thus forming new connections and increasing plasticity.

Be sure to exercise with computer games with increasingly difficult levels. Look for computer software programs particularly designed for brain plasticity. Examples of such games include Mindfit and Brain Fitness.

Physical Exercises

Physical exercise is good for both the body and brain. Studies show that exercising is one of the best ways to improve plasticity and brain health. Studies have also shown that physical exercise triggers production of BDNF that is directly linked to the human brain’s ability to change, develop and adapt. Walking, running, and biking are some great ways to get the exercise our brains need for plasticity.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

New Beginning Physical Therapy, Inc. provides the highest level of rehabilitative care available. Our therapists are all highly trained and licensed physical therapy professionals. Our Passion is to make a dramatic, positive impact in our clients’ lives. We love what we do! Nothing could be more rewarding for us than facilitating your path to wellnessWe are in Palm Desert, California, and serve the entire Coachella Valley.

formats

Family Caregiving When You Live Away From Your Loved One

It’s hard enough to be a #familycaregiver, but even harder when doing it from a distance.  This article has practical, commonsense tips for any family caregivers, but goes into a bit about doing it when you don’t live locally to the person needing assistance.   A must read!   http://www.strokesmart.org/new?id=151

_______________________________________________________________________________________

New Beginning Physical Therapy, Inc. provides the highest level of rehabilitative care available. Our therapists are all highly trained and licensed physical therapy professionals. Our Passion is to make a dramatic, positive impact in our clients’ lives. We love what we do! Nothing could be more rewarding for us than facilitating your path to wellnessWe are in Palm Desert, California, and serve the entire Coachella Valley.

formats

Life Without Limitations

Jimmy Jenson is my newest hero.  Talk about inspiration!  This young man, with the help of a buddy, started exercising and working out.   What makes it so amazing is not that he’s 48 and new to running, but that he’s the first person with Down’s Syndrome to complete the NYC Marathon.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/04/new-york-marathon-down-syndrome_n_4214496.html

We take our hat off to Jimmy and say “Way to go!”.  We also applaud Jennifer Davis, his friend, who partnered with him.  Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

There are so many wonderful organizations out there that provide invaluable services to others.  I remember as a child volunteering with Special Olympics.  My favorite job was to be a hugger – someone who stood at the finish line and cheered for a participant in the event.  The love, dedication and determination of each person there was infectious.

I challenge you each to find a way to give back to your community.  Find someone like Jimmy who can use a friend to help motivate.  Jennifer Davis got a lot out of her friendship with Jimmy – more than she probably ever thought possible!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

New Beginning Physical Therapy, Inc. provides the highest level of rehabilitative care available. Our therapists are all highly trained and licensed physical therapy professionals. Our Passion is to make a dramatic, positive impact in our clients’ lives. We love what we do! Nothing could be more rewarding for us than facilitating your path to wellnessWe are in Palm Desert, California, and serve the entire Coachella Valley.

formats

Relieving Stress through Exercise

By Dorcas Greene, MEd & Stacy Hennis, PT, C/NDT

We’ve all experienced it – heart racing, muscle tension, irritability.  Perhaps stomach pain or a clenched jaw.  Anxiety goes along with not sleeping at night and feeling tired all the time.  It can lead to forgetting things, or feeling life is spiraling out of control while you’re powerless to stop it.

These are just a few of the things people experience when under stress.  In the U.S., there are 54 million people with a disability according to the US Census Bureau.  According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, there are 44 million people in the US providing care to family members.  For both those with the disability as well as their caregivers, the stress becomes chronic and can lead to other medical issues.

Chronic stress can lead increased risk of heart attack, diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression and cognitive impairment.  On the other hand, exercise helps to lower blood pressure, blood sugars, improve your cholesterol, amongst it’s other numerous benefits.

There are many things that can be done to deal with stress, ranging from meditation, time with friends, laughter, yoga, Tai Chi, etc.  One thing proven repeatedly is #exercise.  Harvard Medical School states that exercise not only releases endorphins which elevate your mood, but can lower the amounts of other stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.  Many times, the exercise can give you a “high” and you find that you’ve forgotten the irritations of your day, especially if you avoid distractions while exercising.  In other words, put down the iPad, turn off the tv and concentrate instead on the movement your body is performing.

For those family caregivers, it’s especially important to be kind to yourself.  A 20 minute walk with a neighbor keeps you from being isolated.  It can be so relaxing to talk with someone about something other than “caregiver” talk.  If this isn’t possible, then take your mug of coffee for a walk around your own home.  Spend 15 minutes in your garden.  Bending over to pick weeds or plant some flowers can be exercise!  Do not quit your gym membership.  Don’t feel guilty if you can’t make it 3 times a week – stop in whenever you can for 30 minutes.

While at home, doing some simple floor stretches while watching television might help motivate them to do some chair exercises.  Perhaps you can both join a chair yoga class.  Local community centers may have yoga classes that fit your schedule.  There are even laughing yoga classes – mix exercise with laughter to feel even better!  And if you can’t fit a good laugh in, then remember breathing.  Even a few deep breaths, slowly exhaled can lessen stress and anxiety.

 

#exerciserelievesstress   #familycaregivers    #lessenstress    #lessenanxiety

______________________________________________________________________________________

Dorcas Greene, Collaborative Coaching USA, has been a family caregiver for over 40  years.  Her passion is ensuring that other family caregivers maintain their sanity and health. Stacy Hennis, New Beginning Physical Therapy, specializes in treating adults with chronic medical conditions. These conditions affect the family, not just the patient. To reach Dorcas, please call 760-301-5247 or online at  DorcasGreeneCoach.com.   

© In Home Physical Therapy Palm Desert - New Beginning Physical Therapy