• Exercise, particularly aerobic and resistance training, profoundly affect brain health and neuroplasticity by promoting the production of growth factors like BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and myokines such as irisin. These factors support neuron growth, improve cognitive function, and can help stave off Alzheimer's disease.
• Zone two training, which focuses on training in the two-millimole lactate threshold, promotes mitochondrial biogenesis in the brain, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, leading to an increase in the number of mitochondria and thus improved brain function.
• Engaging in regular aerobic exercise and strength training can have lasting impacts on the brain health and cognitive function, but it's essential to train at the right intensity and duration to achieve these benefits. For aerobic exercise, aim for at least three hours a week, while strength training should include three to four sessions per week at 70-75% of your one-repetition max.
Louisa Nicola is a neurophysiologist and Human Performance Coach who is the founder and head performance advisor of Neuro Athletics - a consulting firm training some of the best athletes in the world. In today's episode, we discuss how exercise impacts brain health and cognitive function. Louisa discusses how aerobic exercise affects growth factors in the brain that improve neuroplasticity. She also reveals emerging research on how resistance training amplifies the effects of brain-derived growth factors and much more.
“20 minutes a day of aerobic activity over a six-month period can starve off Alzheimer's disease by 20 years.”
“Resistance training is changing the structure of our brain, the function of our brain, it’s an incredible modality”
“Our brain is the most vascular-rich organ in the body, meaning that it has millions of capillaries. It's got millions of vessels. “If you were to pull apart all the vessels in the brain, it would span over 400 miles.”