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The Impact Of Running On The Brain

Jun 04, 2018


The impact of running on the brain


Why do you want to run? I think in addition to being able to keep you fit, you can also let you release stress, enhance your memory, become stronger, and cure some diseases.

Running has become an increasingly popular sport.

Running is a self challenge and a breakthrough. How much do you know about the value of running itself, especially its influence on the brain?


1, running can make you feel happy

After each run, you will feel happier, calmer, and more focused. This is because the brain becomes more active after running, so it will feel clearer.

A study published in the 2008 Cerebral Cortex showed that running is related to changes in the brain's chemical transmitters. The researchers used PET (positron emission tomography) neuroimaging to show how 2-hour running enhanced opioid peptides and opioid peptides in different brain areas compared to pre-running conditions. It is related to our subjective pleasure.

This finding confirms that running activates the brain to increase the secretion of endorphins, which is a natural state of excitement. The quality of the person's mood is related to the number of endorphins secreted by the brain.

When the running reaches a certain amount, the secretion of endorphins increases and the body and mind are in a relaxed state of pleasure under the stimulation of the inner scorpion peptide. Endorphins are therefore also called "happy hormones." It can make people feel happy and satisfied. It can help people relieve pressure and unhappiness.


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2, running can increase your memory

The University of Maryland in the United States once did such a study. They let some athletes not run for 10 days, then scan their brains and find that the amount of blood flowing to the hippocampus is reduced, and this area is closely related to learning and memory ability, and it is also closely related to the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease.

The study also found that stopping running for a while will not only reduce the blood supply to the hippocampus, but it will reduce the supply of blood to the entire brain. A decrease in blood supply means that your ability to learn will fall and memory will fall.

In addition, when you stop running, your body also reduces the production of cathepsin, which is also related to memory.

3, running can make you more agile

Finnish scientists did such a study and found 10 pairs of male twins. One of them had to run at least twice a week while the other did not exercise. Three years later, by scanning the brain, it was found that the gray area of the brain that was running every week was more developed, and this area was related to the speed with which the brain processed information.

Obviously, running can improve brain activity, including gray areas, which allows the brain to better cope with stress and aging. Therefore, if you stop running, the grey area of your brain will shrink, which will reduce the ability of the brain to process information and think.

4, running can improve your cognitive ability

The University of Minnesota research team in 1985 studied 2747 healthy adults aged 18-30 years. In the test of cardiopulmonary function of the subjects, the researchers asked them to run at full speed on the treadmill until they could not run or breathless, and the subjects could run an average of 10 minutes.

Twenty years later, the researchers asked the subjects to perform the same running test. As a result, the subjects ran for an average of 2.9 minutes. After another 5 years, the researchers asked participants to participate in visual memory tests to test their cognitive abilities, including language memory, speed of the brain's dominating movements, and execution ability.

In the linguistic memory test, the researchers asked the subjects to look at 15 words and recall them 10 minutes later. In the speed test of the brain that dominated the movement, the researchers asked the subjects to memorize certain meaningless signs. Numbers; In the ability to perform tests, the subjects were asked to do brain teasers, such as using a green pen to write the word "yellow," and asked the subject what the pen color was.

The study found that in the first running test 25 years ago, the accuracy of the language memory test was 0.12 words more for each additional person who ran for 1 minute, and the number of nonsense signs replaced the number with 0.92 number. In the two previous tests, the smaller the difference in running time, the better the performance in the performance test.

If people remember one word in memory tests, the risk of suffering cognitive impairment after 10 years will decrease by 18%. The research leader Dr. Jacob pointed out that from the test results, it can be seen that running, swimming, cycling and other aerobic exercises are beneficial to brain health and can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.

Research at the University of Arizona also supports this view. In their opinion, running requires a surprisingly high level of cognitive skills, especially if you are running fast or on a challenging route. The team includes neuroscientists who recently completed the first functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) study of young, highly fit runners and non-runners of the same age.

By studying them, they concluded that runners have "obvious differences" in functional connectivity at rest, and the researchers believe that the differences may extend to "unrelated to sports." In other words: Running can make you smarter.

"Our research shows that high levels of aerobic exercise, such as endurance running, may be beneficial to brain function, especially for complex cognitive abilities such as planning, task switching, and multitasking." Dr. Gini, University of Arizona - Dr. Alexander said that he is also the head of the brain imaging, behavioral and aging laboratory.

5, running can enhance the ability of the brain to fight fatigue

A study from the University of Canberra conducted an exploratory experiment on this issue. Experiments were divided into two groups. One was a professional cyclist player and the other was an amateur. Then let them participate in cognitive tasks.

Because the task requires the brain to concentrate on the task, it will cause mental fatigue after a long time and cause the brain to be suppressed. After this cognitive task, another 20-minute test match is completed. The purpose of doing so is very clear, is to compare the impact of brain fatigue on athletic ability. The results show that the correct rate of professional athletes is significantly higher than that of amateur players.


6, run a marathon can eliminate your painful memories

A large number of literature studies are concerned about the negative effects of running a marathon, "especially because of the various pain caused by the marathon, including cold, blisters and cramps.

The commonly used coping style for the athletes who often participate in the marathon is that completing a marathon brings satisfaction, which can eliminate their painful memories in the process.

Researchers in the "Memory" magazine used a study to demonstrate this point: they asked the marathoners to report their pain and emotions directly after the marathon, and then they were followed for up to six months, let them recall before About painful memory after marathon. These athletes seem to have forgotten how painful they have been, especially after they finished the marathon, their emotions were high and they forgot more thoroughly.



7. Running can rewrite past traumatic memory documents

In life, we are always accompanied by many painful events, because at that time powerlessness became a node in our psychological trauma. During the running, these events that you do not want to recall may appear as "non-autonomous memory" events.

"Involuntary memory" is not something you want to remember, but rather is something you want to avoid, many of which are unpleasant and traumatic memories.

In the process of running, when the "independent memory" event occurs, the brain will replay it in the mind again, and may re-recognize and understand the original event itself and give it new meaning.

Therefore, running can help us to reshape and adapt those unpleasant memories. "After summoning the devils in our hearts, running provides us with a tool to defeat the devil." Paul Bisceglio wrote in the "Atlantic Monthly" that many long-term runners with his own failure and traumatic experience included himself. It is in running that you really face and deal with traumatic experiences, including cancer, major failures, loss of loved ones in an accident... When you are running along a familiar path, it's like sitting on a time machine. We sort of these past emotions, instead of just burying them in our hearts."


8, running helps to repair brain tissue

A Canadian study shows that running can help repair brain tissue, prevent certain neurodegenerative diseases, and increase life expectancy.

Researchers at the University of Ottawa and the University of Ottawa in Canada conducted experiments in a group of rats with movement disorders. All these rats have the problem of small congenital cerebellum (responsible for balance and coordination), and generally can only survive 25 days to 40 days. The researchers installed a running wheel in the squirrel cage to allow a portion of the rats to run.

The results showed that compared with the normal experimental mice, the running rats survived for more than 12 months, their body weight also increased significantly, and their balance was stronger. The running rats had higher levels of myelin in the cerebellar neurons. Myelin plays a protective role on nerve fibers. The lack of this substance can cause neurons to fail to transmit information quickly.

The head of research, Dr. Saavedra, said that this new study shows that running can significantly improve brain health. Although this study is an animal experiment, it has important implications for the study of new treatments for multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases.


9, Sprinting can make your executive function explode

In a study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, the researchers invited young subjects with an average age of 12 to complete multiple 10-second sprints within 10 minutes and then do some cognitive tests. Then on the other day (either the day before the sprint or the day after), they took another ten minutes to complete the same cognitive test. The Stroop Quiz* shows that compared with the break, the executive function of the subject was enhanced just after the finish and 45 minutes later.

The Stroop test is a long-term psychological control test, and psychological control is also referred to by psychologists as "executive function." Through the digital symbol substitution test, it was found that the visual spatial memory ability or the basic nerve response speed was not affected.

Based on their findings, sprints have clear benefits for the executive function of the brain. Simon Cooper and his colleagues said there is reason to increase the chance for schools to increase their participation in high-intensity physical activity.

*Stroop test: A series of color words (red, green, yellow, etc.) are used in the test, but the word sense matches the color of the writing gates. For example, the word "red" is written in green, the word "yellow" is written in red, etc.). In the experiment, when the subject was asked to speak the color of the word as soon as possible, the subject often read the word automatically, which is the competition of the color naming process and the reading process.


10, Long-term running, less brain shrinkage

In 2016, an American medical research organization published an article and found a certain link between heart and lung fitness and the brain.

Let's briefly talk about what is cardiorespiratory fitness? It refers to the individual's lungs and heart, the ability to carry oxygen from the air and transport it to tissue cells for use.

Therefore, cardiopulmonary fitness can be said to be an indicator of the aerobic capacity of the individual's heart, lung, blood vessels and tissue cells. A better cardiopulmonary fitness can make our exercise last longer, and it won't tire quickly. It can also make us work longer and more efficiently on weekdays. Poor cardiopulmonary fitness is not only easy to fatigue, apathetic, but also more likely to have cardiovascular disease. The main measurement index VO2max (maximum oxygen uptake capacity).

The maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) is a natural gift, but the acquired efforts can be improved to some extent. Those who often run, VO2max will be higher than the average person.


So, if you are stressed out, depressed, memory degraded, mentally retarded, and declining, start running! You will receive unexpected results.