New study finds that exercise is good for your brain's grey matter

on 07 January 2020
exercise, brain food

Hypnotherapy, the user manual for the brain, helps us better process life at levels below the conscious awareness of what is going on around us, e.g. the daily onslaught of bad news we are subjected to. While the media are plying us with bad news, presumably, because we have a right to know, scientists are finding ways to help us understand why things are going wrong and, hopefully, how to fix it . . .

Exercise and deep breathing are the best remedies!

While I positively espouse the benefits of hypnotherapy, at the same time, I also focus on other aspects of living that are equally important. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a good model for measuring the quality of where we are in life. Focusing on the basic needs, air, water (liquids), food and sex, although for the purpose of this article, the focus is on the first three. Air, is the most important because we can only live without it for several minutes, liquids are in terms of days and food is in terms of weeks. Every single cell is dependent on air for both its health and survival but also, its contribution to the wellness of the whole being, total health being the collective position of the total health of each individual cell! Liquids play a vital role in both brain health and function. The brain, according to some sources, is approximately 85% water and it needs constant access to high levels of it to maintain optimum function. Food, well that just supplies us with the essentials, carbs, proteins and fats needed to keep it all working. Also, food is the only source of the 9 amino acids that the brain cannot synthesise itself! 

So, while hypnotherapy can be immensely helpful in changing someone's life experience for the better, we can also help ourselves by giving our brain and body all the things that will promote physical and mental health well into our golden years! The bottom line being, the more we do that promotes physical and mental health, the less vulnerable we are likely to be to a mental or emotional illness. In this respect, it is interesting to look at the baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and the following generations. Many baby boomers faced some form of food deprivation, some may have been a consequence of financial restraint, people didn't earn much and good food, if available, costs money! Also, to combat some of this shortage, processed foods became more available and affordable. This coupled with the lack of general awareness of the effects of processed food led to the blissful ignorance of it!

Move on a few generations, now and we have an overabundance of highly processed foods (aka junk), very tasty but more unhealthy. So, this has moved us from a nutritionally deficient generation to one's plagued by overindulgence. While the baby boomer generation has seemingly suffered from more physical defects in their older age, it is the exponential rise of mental health issues that are plaguing later generations, that I find more of a concern going forward. 

So, the message is, if you want to have a happy life now and all the way into your golden years you will need a good plan. One that includes, hypnotherapy, learning to breathe correctly (see here), plenty of liquids (following health guidelines) a good healthy diet! The output of the brain and body is just like the old computer adage, garbage in, garbage out. For sure hypnotherapy will help you to resolve mental and emotional issues but good breathing techniques, good hydration, good food and exercise will help you to maintain a healthy and happy life.  

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little or poor quality sleep and too little by way of mental and emotional clarity! So, to get or take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious brain's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want the ability to make your life feel better, then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

My objective is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into emotional experiences that may actually be happening but for reasons, we may never have imagined! If you want to know more about Hypnotherapy, why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research: 

A study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases provides new evidence of an association between cardiorespiratory fitness and brain health, particularly in grey matter and total brain volume -- regions of the brain involved with cognitive decline and ageing.

Brain tissue is made up of grey matter, or cell bodies, and filaments, called white matter, that extend from the cells. The volume of grey matter appears to correlate with various skills and cognitive abilities. The researchers found that increases in peak oxygen uptake were strongly associated with increased grey matter volume.

The study involved 2,013 adults from two independent cohorts in northeastern Germany. Participants were examined in phases from 1997 through 2012. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using peak oxygen uptake and other standards while participants used an exercise bike. MRI brain data also were analyzed.

The results suggest cardiorespiratory exercise may contribute to improved brain health and decelerate a decline in grey matter. An editorial by three Mayo Clinic experts that accompanies the Mayo Clinic Proceedings study says the results are "encouraging, intriguing and contribute to the growing literature relating to exercise and brain health."

Ronald Petersen, M.D., PhD, a Mayo Clinic neurologist and first author of the editorial, says the most striking feature of the study is the measured effect of exercise on brain structures involved in cognition, rather than motor function. "This provides indirect evidence that aerobic exercise can have a positive impact on cognitive function in addition to physical conditioning," he says. "Another important feature of the study is that these results may apply to older adults, as well. There is good evidence for the value of exercise in midlife, but it is encouraging that there can be positive effects on the brain in later life as well."

Dr Petersen is the Cora Kanow Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research and the Chester and Debbie Cadieux Director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

The study's finding of higher grey matter volume associated with cardiorespiratory exercise is in brain regions clinically relevant for cognitive changes in ageing, including some involved in Alzheimer's disease. The editorial calls those associations interesting but cautions against concluding that cardiorespiratory fitness correlations would affect Alzheimer's disease.

"This is another piece of the puzzle showing physical activity and physical fitness is protective against ageing-related cognitive decline," says Michael Joyner, M.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and physiologist, and editorial co-author. "There's already good epidemiological evidence for this, as well as emerging data showing that physical activity and fitness are associated with improved brain blood vessel function. This paper is important because of the volumetric data showing an effect on brain structure."

Dr Joyner is the Frank R. and Shari Caywood Professor at Mayo Clinic.

Long-term studies on the relationship between exercise and brain health are needed, which will be costly and logistically challenging to produce. "Nevertheless, these data are encouraging," says Clifford Jack Jr., M.D., a Mayo Clinic neuroradiologist and co-author of the editorial. "The findings regarding cardiorespiratory fitness and certain brain structures are unique."

Dr Jack is the Alexander Family Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research.

According to Mayo Clinic experts, moderate and regular exercise -- about 150 minutes per week -- is recommended. Good cardiorespiratory fitness also involves:

Not smoking

Following healthy eating habits

Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight level

Managing blood pressure and avoiding hypertension

Controlling cholesterol levels

Reducing blood sugar, which over time can damage your heart and other organs

University Medicine Greifswald, Germany, also was part of the research project. Katharina Wittfeld, PhD, a researcher at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, is the first author.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Mayo ClinicNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Katharina Wittfeld, Carmen Jochem, Marcus Dörr, Ulf Schminke, Sven Gläser, Martin Bahls, Marcello R.P. Markus, Stephan B. Felix, Michael F. Leitzmann, Ralf Ewert, Robin Bülow, Henry Völzke, Deborah Janowitz, Sebastian E. Baumeister, Hans Jörgen Grabe. Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Gray Matter Volume in the Temporal, Frontal, and Cerebellar Regions in the General PopulationMayo Clinic Proceedings, 2020; 95 (1): 44 DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.05.030

Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Keep exercising: New study finds it's good for your brain's grey matter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 January 2020. <>