Many people think that neurons are irreparably lost over time with age. This catastrophic scenario is not entirely true …
Even in our old days, neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons) still takes place in the brain, especially in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is involved in memory development and learning. Once formed, the new neurons are incorporated into the rest of the neural circuit.
The new generation of neurons has positive repercussions on attention, memory, the ability to learn, motivation, emotions and conditioning in the face of fear.
And the best part is that many scientific studies show that certain activities help to promote the production of neurons and therefore to rejuvenate the brain.
We invite you to discover here some activities that promote the production of neurons. Do not miss this article!
1. Playing a musical instrument promotes the production of neurons
Playing a musical instrument improves mental speed and learning ability. You don’t have to be an expert: the combination of auditory, tactile and sensory activity with logic, analysis and rhythmic movements trigger in the brain the synchronized work of different brain regions.
Learning a musical instrument can even help increase the IQ of preschool children. This is what a study carried out on preschool children showed: children who learned to play the piano had a higher IQ than children who did not take piano lessons.
So… Put some music in your life and produce new neurons, whatever your age!
2. Promote good oxygenation
When we walk briskly, trot, dance, swim or even pedal, we are doing aerobics. This type of exercise encourages the production of new neurons, in particular neurons linked to the improvement of knowledge.
The reason is as follows: these activities help to improve blood circulation which is particularly extensive in the brain. This allows us to strengthen the blood vessels, and it is even possible that new blood vessels will appear. Good vascularity allows optimal transport of nutrients and oxygen to brain cells, and neurogenesis will therefore take place.
A recent scientific study of people who follow an aerobic training routine shows that three months is enough for some of the areas of the brain that age first to benefit from better oxygenation. After three months of aerobic exercise, these areas responded better to memory tests and the number of neurons had increased. This seems to indicate that good oxygenation helps the brain to stay young for longer.
3. Moving the legs promotes the production of neurons
Some studies in animals exercising on a wheel show that moving the legs increases neurogenesis in areas of the brain related to memory and learning. Specialists have not observed this effect in animals that do not exercise.
The more we move our legs, the more neurons we produce. The more we walk, the more neurons we produce in the areas of the brain devoted to learning and memory. This makes sense because when we move around while walking, the brain stimulates the exploration of new environments that must be learned and memorized in order to be able to orient ourselves.
In addition, a recent study shows that the exploration of new spaces as well as the discovery of new objects reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improve memory. So, a great way to produce neurons is to harden an average distance by walking in unfamiliar places. Let’s get away from the routine and surprise our brain with new places!
Likewise, poor leg mobility results in reduced formation of new neurons. For example, it has been shown that the neurogenesis of astronauts who spent nine months in zero gravity as well as that of people with reduced mobility decreased by 70%. For these people, there are alternatives such as practicing meditation.
4. Do body-mind exercises
The practice of meditation (yoga, tai chi, mindfulness…) involves learning more about the natural course of thoughts and patterns of behavior without necessarily adding an emotional component.
Body-mind exercises promote better functioning of the various memory functions related to performing tasks and making decisions. These exercises also stimulate the activity of neurons in different areas of the brain. The daily practice of Zen meditation, mindfulness or yoga for several months changes the circuits of neurons. The positive consequence of this: gray matter increases in the brain areas of memory and in that of emotional management.
In addition, this activity allows the brain to enjoy the benefits of deeper breathing, namely that the brain is extremely hungry for oxygen.
5. Feed the three brains
Fatty acids from fish like omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for the brain. Namely, omega-3s usually accumulate in areas of the brain related to memory and learning (the cortex and the hippocampus).
It is important to keep in mind that the brain does not produce omega-3s because it does not have the necessary metabolic building blocks to make them. It is therefore essential to consume products rich in omega-3.
Numerous scientific studies show that a sufficient intake of omega-3 not only decreases the death of neurons but also increases the formation of new neurons. That’s more or less what happens with the mood. When omega-3 intake is low, we are more prone to depression and low morale. The risk of suicide even increases.
In addition, foods rich in fiber, lactic acid bacteria and a diet that includes good portions of fruits and vegetables help to maintain the health of the intestine and that of the microorganisms living in the intestine, which constitute our “second and third. brain”. The data show that the presence of appropriate microorganisms in the gut causes an increase in molecules necessary to promote neurogenesis in the brain.
In short, consume essential fatty acids and fibers to produce neurons!
6. Writing a book promotes the production of neurons
A study published in 2018 for which we measured the brain volume of creative writers showed that writers had more gray matter (that is to say they have more neurons) in areas of the brain, particularly related to organization. ideas, an essential aspect when it comes to writing a book.
In addition, in the long term, writing a book promotes the improvement of tasks associated with memory.
7. Develop your creativity!
If you are not very good at writing, try other activities such as visual arts or theater. All activities that stimulate creativity promote the production of neurons.
Creativity is one of the activities that stimulate the brain the most and for which the brain expends the most energy. Being creative is part of human nature.
We are delighted to know that writing this article has triggered the production of new neurons in the author.
As for you, if you’ve read this article while walking down the street or listening to music, chances are you’ve produced neurons. Incredible, isn’t it?