For a long time, we’ve viewed physical strength as distinct from mental acuity, and maybe even as antagonistic to it, as the former drains the latter of its resources. The truth is that our brains and muscles are always communicating with each other through the exchange of electrochemical impulses. Keeping our muscles active is crucial to maintaining healthy brain function throughout our lives.
The skeletal muscle is one of the largest organs in the human body and is responsible for movement. It also functions as an endocrine tissue, releasing chemicals that communicate with other organs and direct their activities. Myokines are the protein messengers that move signals from skeletal muscle to other tissues, including the brain.
When muscles contract, divide or undergo any other metabolic process, myokines are secreted into the bloodstream. When these signals reach the brain, they influence metabolic and physiological responses there as well. Therefore, myokines are capable of modulating mental and emotional states. Myokine messengers have a role in determining the exact positive reactions in the brain that are triggered by exercise, further stimulating what scientists call muscle-brain “cross-talk.” The development of new neurons and enhanced synaptic plasticity are two examples that can help improve memory and learning.
In this way, having well-developed muscles is crucial for optimal mental health.
When it comes to immature muscle, even a modest amount of exercise is enough to set off biochemical mechanisms that signal the muscle to expand. Damaged muscle fibers respond to stress and strain by fusing to increase in size and bulk. Muscles gain strength by recovering from repeated small tears, a process known as regeneration. The message transmitted by physical activity diminishes significantly with aging. Muscle mass is more difficult to grow and maintain as we age, but it is still achievable and essential for brain health.
Exercising moderately improves metabolism in key brain areas involved in learning and memory in the elderly. Exercising has been shown to have a surprisingly physical effect on the brain. Age-related atrophy of the hippocampus, a key brain region involved in learning and memory, has been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Regular exercise has been found to protect against age-related memory decline and enhance spatial memory by increasing hippocampal volume, even in old age.
White matter tracts in the brain were scanned in a computer-enhanced, three-dimensional diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI) scan.
Like this, your thoughts are formed in your head.
Your mind is a work in progress comprised of your brain, your body, and your environment.
Furthermore, there is strong evidence that several myokines have neuroprotective characteristics that differ between the sexes. Since postmenopausal women have a higher risk of developing neurological illnesses, and since irisin is regulated by estrogen, it stands to reason that this myokine may also play a crucial role in protecting neurons from age-related degeneration.
Improved cognitive performance has been linked to higher levels of physical activity and motor competence even in persons who already suffer from an illness or injury to the brain. Sarcopenia, or muscle loss due to old age, increases the risk of mental deterioration. Mounting evidence suggests that aging and the associated loss of skeletal muscle mass and function makes the brain more susceptible to dysfunction and disease; in contrast, exercise has been shown to increase memory, processing speed, and executive function, particularly in those over the age of 60. (Exercise also improves children’s cognitive capacities.)
Your muscles and brain communicate with each other through a complex molecular language. The ability to use this language fluently into old age is aided by regular exercise.