Translator: Alisa Isufaj Reviewer: Edona Qoqaj What if I tell you, that was something you could do now that would be immediate, positive benefit to your brain.
Including your mood and focus? And what if I tell you that the same thing can last for a long time and will protect your brain from various conditions such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Would you do that? Yes! I am talking about the tremendous effects of physical activity.
Simply moving your body, immediate, lasting and protective benefits for your brain And that can last for the rest of your life.
So, what I want to do today is tell you a story about how I have used my deep knowledge of neuroscience, as a professor of neuroscience, that I basically did an experiment on myself in which I have discovered the basic science why exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today.
Now, as a neuroscientist, I know our brain, which is a thing in our head now, is the most complex structure known to mankind.
But, it ‘s one thing to talk about the brain, and another to see him.
So here it is a real preserved human brain.
I will also illustrate the two key areas I will talk about today.
The first is the prefrontal cortex, just behind the forehead, that plays a role in your decision-making, concentration, attention, and personality.
The second key area is located in the temporal lobe, shown here.
We have the right and left lobes of the temporal area and deep in the temporal lobe is the key structure key to your skills to shape and retain in long-term memory, facts and events.
And this structure is the hippocampus.
Thus, I have always been fascinated by the role of the hippocampus.
How is it possible for an event to last only a moment, as you say, your first kiss, or the moment your first child was born, can form memories that change your brain, and can they last a lifetime? This, is what I want to understand.
I wanted to start recording the activity of individual brain cells in the hippocampus how new memories are formed in us subjects And basically I tried to decipher the small bursts of activity electrical, how neurons communicate with each other, how these small explosions enable us to form new memories.
But, a few years later, I did something unusual in science.
As professors of neuroscience, I decided to completely change my research program.
Because I came across something that was wonderful, in a life-changing power and I decided to study it.
I discovered and experienced the effects of brain-changing exercises.
And I did it in a totally surprising way.
I was actually at the peak of all the work around the memory I was doing, data was being thrown, I was becoming known in my field for my work around memory It was something wonderful.
It was, scientific.
But when I pulled my head out of the lab door I noticed something.
I had no social life.
I spent a lot of time on these nerve cells in a dark, single room.
(laughter) I did not move my body at all.
I had added 11.3 kg.
And it took me many years to realize it, I was miserable.
And I did not want to be like that.
And I was on a boat trip alone, as I had no companions.
And I came back again.
(laughter) I thought, “Oh God, I was, the weakest person on this journey.
” And I came back with a mission and I said, “I will never feel like a weak person again on a boat trip along the river.
And that made me go to the gym.
And I focused on type A personality and I went to all the exercises I had in the gym I tried everything.
I was in kickboxing, dancing, yoga, walking.
and at first it was very difficult.
But, I noticed that after the exercises that made me sweat a lot, I had great mood swings and energy.
And that pushed me to continue the gym.
I started to feel more powerful.
I started, to feel better, I had already lost 11 kg.
And now, after a rapid progress for a year and a half in this program exercises I noticed something that really made me sit down and pay attention.
I was sitting at my desk, writing a research fellowship, and a thought pervades my mind and had never crossed my mind before.
And this thought was, “Gee, scholarship writing is going well today.
” And all scientists (laughter) yes, all the scientists laughed every time I said it because scholarship writing never goes well with me It was very difficult: I was always pulling my hair, trying to come up with that winning idea of millions.
But, I realized the scholarship writing was going well, because I was able to concentrate and keep my attention for longer than I could have done before.
And my long-term memory that I tried to study in my lab seemed to be now improved on me.
And that was the reason I organized the exercises together.
Maybe all those exercises I included and added to my life were changing my brain.
Maybe I was experimenting with myself, without my knowledge.
So as a curious neuroscientist, I researched in the literature to see what we know about this, about the effects of exercise on the brain.
What I found was a literature that was extremely exciting to me which basically told everything I had noticed in myself.
greater energy, higher memory and attention.
And the more I read, the more I realized how powerful the exercises were.
That finally leads me to the big decision to completely shift my focus to research.
And now, after a few years of focusing on this question, I came to a conclusion: that exercises are the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today for the following three reasons.
Number one: has immediate effects on your brain.
A single workout you do immediately increases neurotransmitter levels as dopamine, serotonin, and neuroadrenaline.
This will boost your mood immediately after that workout was exactly what I felt.
My lab showed that a single workout can improve and shift your ability and concentration, and this concentration improvement will be for at least two hours.
And finally, studies have shown that a single workout will improve your reaction speed which basically means that you will be faster in catching that Starbucks glass falling off the counter, which is, very important.
(laughter) But, these immediate effects are temporary.
What you need to do is exactly what I did change your exercise regimen, increase cardio-respiratory function, to achieve long-term effects.
And these effects are long-term because exercises change the actual anatomy of the brain, as well as physiology and function.
Let’s start with my favorite area of the brain, the hippocampus.
Hippocampus or exercise actually produces new nerve cells, new nerve cells in the hippocampus, increase its volume as well as improve your long-term memory, okay? And that includes you and me.
Number two: the most common finding in neuroscience studies, seeing the long-term effects of exercise, improved functioning of attention, depends on the prefrontal cortex.
Not only do you gain better concentration and attention, but hippocampal volume also increases.
And lastly, not only do you achieve immediate mood swings with exercise but these last for a long time.
Thus, you gain steady growth of these neurotransmitters.
But, really the most transformative thing exercises can do are their protective effects on your brain.
Here you can think about the brain as a muscle.
The more you exercise, the more the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex grow and strengthen.
Why is this important? Because the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are the two areas most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases and normal cognitive decline during aging.
So with increasing exercise throughout your life, you will not cure dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but, what you will do is you will create stronger, larger hippocampus, the same goes for the prefrontal cortex thus, these diseases take a long time to have any effect.
You can think of exercises, therefore, like a 401K that boosts your brain power, okay? So this is where everyone says, “That sounds so interesting, Wendy, but, I really want to know only one thing.
And that is, tell me, the minimum amount of exercise I need all these changes.
” (laughter) And so I will say the answer to this question.
First, the good news: you do not have to become a triathlete to win these effects.
The big rule is that you should do it three to four times a week exercises.
Minimum 30 minutes a training session, and should have aerobic exercise within the workout.
That is, to raise the heart rate And the good news is, you don’t have to go to the gym to spend a lot.
Add an extra walk while walking.
You look at the stairs, walk there.
And energy depletion can be just as good as aerobics class that you would get in the gym.
Thus I moved from memory pioneer in exploratory exercises.
From in-depth studies about the brain in trying to understand how exercises improve brain function is to go beyond this great rule I just gave you I want to understand the optimal method of exercises for you, at your age, at your fitness level, for your genetic background, and also to better improve and protect your brain But, it is one thing to talk about exercise, and another to do it.
So I will use my strength as a certified exercise instructor, I ask you all to stand up.
( laughter) We will only do one minute of exercise.
It’s called answering, just do what I do, say what I say, and be careful not to hit, the person next to you, okay? Music! (faster music) five, six, seven, eight, right, left, right, left.
And I say, I’m strong now.
Let me listen to you Audience: I’m strong now.
Wendy Suzuki: Madam, I am the wonderful wonderful woman.
Let me listen to you! Audience: I am the wonderful wonderful woman.
New movement – fist from below, right, left.
I’m inspired now, say this! Audience: I’m inspired now.
Final movement: pull the hand, from left to right, from left to right.
I say, I’m on fire now! Say this.
AUDIENCE: I’m on fire now.
I’m done! All right, good job! (Applause) Thank you! I want to leave it with one last order.
And that is, make exercise a part of your life not only will I add happiness to your life and make it safer, but will protect your brain from incurable diseases.
And that way I will give another direction to your life for good.
Thank you very much! (Applause) Thank you! (Applause)