We analyze the advice of neuroscience on how to turn back the clock: maintain clarity of thinking, good mood, and tenacious memory. American neuroscience Wendy Suzuki, the head of the laboratory at New York University, became truly famous when she wrote a book on how to turn back the clock: maintain clarity of thinking, good mood, tenacious memory, as in youth. In Russian, this world bestseller was called “The Strange Girl Who Fell in Love with the Brain.” Our correspondent read a book to understand what exercises can make us younger.
- Give aerobics! Do it once!
For a long time, it was believed that after reaching adulthood, nerve cells in humans do not form. However, studies have shown that exercise led to the renewal of nerve cells in the hippocampus, a brain structure responsible for mood and memory.
It is due to physical activity that the majority of positive, anti-aging changes in the brain occur. The cortex grows, blood vessels grow, which means blood supply improves, hormones of joy and neurotransmitters are released – chemicals that transmit nerve impulses.
Analyzing the data of elderly patients, scientists obtained data that physical activity reduces the risk of developing senile dementia, improves attention and memory.
What to do: Wendy Suzuki believes that aerobic exercise is best rejuvenated. That is, we are going to the hall for group classes – nothing supernatural!
- Saved from stress
Stress causes great damage to the hippocampus and the prefrontal area of the brain (the one that is responsible for memory, decision making). It reduces the volume of these structures, destroys nerve cells, slows down the formation of new ones.
Studies in rodents have shown that physical activity protects against stress itself and its consequences. The rats were scared, and then some of them were allowed to run in the wheel. As a result, those of them who clocked up kilometers showed less anxiety than those who did not have physical activity. In other words, physical education protected rats from stressful situations in which they fell.
Why is that? One answer is that physical training increases the level of pleasure hormones in the brain – serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphin, and also stimulates the formation of nerve cells.
In humans, physical education also alleviates the symptoms of depression. Moreover, one of the known methods for treating clinical depression is regular sports training. True, data on improving memory in people as a result of sports activities is still insufficient.
What to do: swim in the pool or walk with Scandinavian sticks, or run (better in the pleasing eye and soothing Green Park).
- We smile
In addition to physical education and massage, which cause the release of endorphins in the body, there are many other ways to get pleasure. For example, delicious food, cold fruit juice in the heat, rafting on rough rivers, theater tickets and much more. It turns out that all these actions have a common feature. They engage the pleasure zone in the brain.
The same effect is exerted on our command post, for example, sweet. That is why, not being stressed, we are increasingly leaning on sweets.
But eating sweets is not the healthiest method of rejuvenation. Therefore, the author recommends other tricks. A number of studies, for example, have shown that voluntary donations to charity and any other altruistic activities activate a pleasure center in the brain.
And here are the tricks that the American recommends for altruistic pleasure:
– Pay for the person standing behind you in public transport;
– Help a stranger in a public place;
– Smile and say hello to a stranger on the street;
– Do something good for a person who is unpleasant to you (it turns out to be especially useful!);
– Collect trash on the street or on the beach.
- Do needlework
In the last decade, the world is talking more and more about creativity, scientists are trying to find a definition for this quality. And yet, most scientists come down to the idea that creativity is the development of new ideas to solve old problems.
By the way, contrary to popular belief that creativity is responsible for the right hemisphere (and logic for the left), inspiration includes both hemispheres of the brain. And neurologists have more and more arguments in favor of the fact that creative thinking is just a kind of ordinary.
The myth, according to research, was the postulate that not all people are creative.
Usually, when we are not able to offer new ideas, we refer to the fact that not everyone has access to the joy and enjoyment of creativity. However, it turns out that creativity is just a variant of everyday thinking. And it can be developed as well as other cognitive functions: memory, attention.
The creative process can be started if several senses are used simultaneously. If you get out of
Meditation activates a special type of electrical activity of the brain. These are gamma rhythms – the fastest electrical rhythms of the brain. They occur at a frequency of about 40 vibrations per minute. Gamma rhythms roll through the back streets of the brain and coordinate activities throughout the entrusted space. This type of oscillation is most important because it is activated in the performance of various cognitive functions (attention, short-term memory, learning, and perception). Thus, gamma rhythms “comb” various activities and create connections with individual parts of the brain, which allows you to create a single consistent picture of the world.
This can be compared to how the conductor controls the orchestra. Gamma rhythms act as a conductor who coordinates perception, actions, emotions, memories, and so on.
A person practicing meditation feels more conscious, better able to control emotions and overcome stress.
Physiologists have studied the effect of 8 weeks of meditation on brain volume. At the end of the study, participants in different parts of the brain increased the amount of gray matter.
What to do: start small – sit back and try to disconnect from thoughts.