Aerobic Exercise, Neuroplastic Change and Mental Health

Aerobics Exercise Good for Your Body and Your Brain

gym equipment

Cardio is Good For The Brain

If you are doing aerobics classes, spinning classes, treadmill workouts and rowing machine workouts just to have a great body then. You should consider the added positive benefit you can gain from cardio activities.

Recent research done on exercise and metal health has confirmed what many researchers and wellness professionals have suspected for years:

Exercise, especially cardio vascular or aerobic exercise has a number of positive effects on the body, brain and mind.

The latest report published in Current Behavioural Neuroscience Reports on 4th April 2016 deals specifically with sufferers of schizophrenia and the effects that cardio vascular or aerobics exercise has on them and their brains.

What is Schizophrenia?

The disorder refers to a group of disorders which are characterized by a loss or impairment of reality, problems with cognitive and thinking processes, the disintegration of the personality, emotional problems and the withdrawal from social life. It affects around 1% of the population.

If you know anybody with this disorder then you will know that it is a heart-breaking experience to watch it happen and progress.

Treatment, Management and Curing Schizophrenia.

There is currently no cure for schizophrenia.

In days gone by institutionalisation and pre-frontal lobotomies were the order of the day.

These days, medication is the chosen style of treatment and is combined with psychotherapy.

Aerobics Exercise and the latest study

Aerobics Equipment

Aerobics Classes

In 2010 Researchers form the University of Toronto conducted research regarding the effects of aerobic exercise on schizophrenia patients. They found that light to moderate amounts of aerobics exercise caused the following effects.

  • Lowered feelings of depression,
  • Reduced social isolation and improved self-esteem in schizophrenics.
  • Increased motivation in terms of eating, cleanliness.
  • An interesting and unexpected result was the reduction of auditory hallucinations
  • The aerobic exercise regime also improved aspects of sleep, behaviour and health behaviours

On 4th April 2016, Julia Vakhrusheva et al, published new findings in the Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports.

Her findings revealed new discoveries as to how various regions of the brain are positively affected by aerobics exercise.

Early indications are:

  • The size of the hippocampus increases.
  • The cortical thickness increases.
  • There is a “neuro-protective” effect against thinning of the cortical structures and the decrease in the volume of the hippocampus
  • Increase in the “brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels”. This helps with neuroplasticity and cognitive improvement.
  • Improving the overall functioning of the brain in terms of cognitive skills such as speed, memory, and learning.

This is only one of the surveys and studies pinpointing the positive results of aerobic exercise and encompasses all population groups, not only those with a mental dysfunction.

Aerobic Exercise and Neuroplasticity

Aerobics exercise is a fundamental criteria of neoplastic change in the brain, the others being:

  • Repetition,
  • Attention
  • Novelty
  • And to some extent Motivation.

The conclusion is: no matter who you are or what your age, it is important to include aerobics activity into your exercise regime. A balanced exercise programme would include all three main components of exercise including strength training, cardio or aerobics exercises and functional training, (including core, stretching and functional movements).

So what is Aerobics Exercise?

Cardio Vascular Gym Equipment

Cardio Vascular Gym Equipment

Any exercise which engages the aerobic respiration system can be regarded as aerobic.

In common sense terms this means that you elevate your heartbeat and perform movements that are of a rhythmic, repetitive and cyclical nature.

In the home gym or commercial gym you may think about movements such as treadmills, elliptical trainers, rowing machines, stepping machines, spinning bikes, exercise bikes and aerobics classes.


What is “Moderate Aerobic Exercise?”

I am always told when in the gym that I don’t know the meaning of “moderate”. They are right, I had to look it up! Here it is.

Moderate aerobic exercise according to the medical community means around 30 minutes per day, at a heart rate of between 60% and 80% of your recommended maximum, for most days of the week.


In A Nutshell

You don’t have to be dealing with a severe mental illness to begin seeing, feeling and hearing the benefit of a regular exercise program with a mix of strength training and aerobic exercise.

If you need advice with a medial condition, don’t just rely on Google, check in with your medical practitioner.

If you need help with creating the body you deserve or just need advice on buying the right gym equipment first time around then I am the competent person you should be talking to.