For a long time, various social beliefs have fueled the idea that the brain and muscle are unrelated and function “separately”, including some people even mocking individuals who take great care of their body, popularly called “marombas”, discrediting his intellect with phrases like “every maromba is dumb”.
However, recent studies have shown that keeping muscle active and/or an exercise routine collaborates with the brain and can help prevent some cognitive losses.
Skeletal muscle, according to the website MIT Technology Reviewis what allows the body to move and is also an endocrine tissue, so it releases signaling molecules – which tell other parts of the body what to do.
These molecules that transmit messages to other tissues are called myokines and are released into the bloodstream each time the muscles contract. In one study, scientists have shown that some myokines participate in the control of brain functionssuch as learning, memory and mood.
In addition, they can act as mediators and trigger beneficial processes in the brain as a result of physical exercise, such as the formation of new neurons, as pointed out by MIT.
Another research focused on myokines found that they have neuroprotective effects against ischemic injuries (interrupt blood flow to the brain) and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
Also in relation to Alzheimer’s disease, evidence indicates that being physically active reduces the risk of dementia and is linked to a slower progression of cognitive decline – in adults who are older or who already have existing brain disease or damage – because physical activity, in some way, prevents the classic signs of Alzheimer’s: the formation of plaques and tangles harmful to the brain.
Scientists have also observed that the more time an individual invests in moderate physical activity, the greater the brain’s production of glucose, or the transformation of glucose into fuel. This relationship may decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Another study, published on the National Institute on Aging website, revealed that exercise encourages the brain to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are vital for cognitive health.
Furthermore, Scientists believe that aerobic exercise, such as walking, is more beneficial for the brain than non-aerobic, stretching and toning ones.
Taking into account the age group of each individual, researchers found that muscle movements of a healthy young man they activate several chemical pathways in the muscle, which stimulate the production of proteins integrated into the muscle fibers. This causes the muscle to increase in size.
In older people, the signals sent by the movements, which encourage muscle growth, are much weaker. For this reason, it is more complicated for older adults to gain and maintain muscle mass, but it is possible, and this attempt is crucial to support the brain.
The MIT classifies that “although it is more difficult for the elderly [ganhar e manter massa muscular], it is still possible to do so, and this maintenance is critical to support the brain. Even moderate exercise can increase metabolism in important brain regions.”
Still considering age, researchers found that the hippocampus (a structure located in the temporal lobes) shrinks in adulthood and leads to an increased chance of dementia, as well as memory problems. However, they found that anaerobic training (high intensity and short duration) increases the size of the hippocampusimproving spatial memory (part responsible for recording information about the surroundings and locations)
In addition, physical training also increased the volume of the hippocampus by 2%, adding to the region about one to two years of stability, that is, without loss.
The MIT website considers that there is “a robust molecular language being spoken between your muscles and your brain”. The data point to a positive and promising relationship between these two parts of the human body.
While this doesn’t mean that every person who exercises frequently and is concerned about musculature will be more intellectually astute, studies show that there are several benefits of physical activity for the body and brain.
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