Neuroplasticity: Your brain can create new neural connections and improve memory, mental alertness, or learning ability. This property is called neuroplasticity, and healthy lifestyle habits help improve it.
This wonderful feature of the brain is its true protective shield and should not be lost. But what does it mean?
The brain is made up of make than 100 billion neurons. However, the number of neurons is not as important as the number of connections between them.
And we say that it has plasticity or neuroplasticity because it is capable of creating new neuronal connections, reorganizing existing pathways, and even generating new neurons in the hippocampus. Just activate your brain in the right way.
1. How to Increase Neuroplasticity
Each neuron in the cerebral cortex is known to have about 2,500 connections, or synapses, at birth. By 3 years, the number increases to 10,000 contacts per neuron. However, an adult usually has half.
What happened along the way? Well, the connections that are used are strengthened; but those that don’t end up dying.
If you don’t stimulate the brain, neural connections are lost.
Stimulating that plasticity of the brain, and keeping it agile and in good shape, is possible. It is in your hands to achieve it, and it does not depend on any drug. Just good habits that we should all include in our daily lives.
2. Your Brain Needs, Above All, Exercise
Practicing physical activity acts as a rejuvenating elixir for your brain. And the reasons are several:
Recovers connections that were lost.
It makes the brain, which is a muscle, less rigid, which encourages new neural connections.
Strengthens the heart. Do not forget that doing sports activates the blood supply because the heart works better, and this is essential for all the nutrients it needs to function well to reach the brain.
What exercise increases neuroplasticity
Brisk walking, swimming, or cycling are good physical activities for your brain because they involve cardiovascular effort.
But if, also, the event you practice works on coordination and thinking, even better. For this reason, team sports such as football or basketball are beneficial for this organ.
3. Your Brain Needs Mental Activity Too
A study published in the journal PLOS ONE reveals that practicing 15 minutes a day of brain training exercises or games improves mental agility and processing speed.
The following suggestions are both simple and helpful for testing your mind: Review your journey. Before going to bed, take a few minutes to remember everything you have done throughout the day.
Do it daily, and you will see how your ability to observe and concentrate improves, and you have less confusion.
Use touch to distinguish objects. We tend to do it with our eyes, but if you use a brush to, for example, identify the coins that you carry in your pocket, you stimulate areas of the brain that tend to work less.
4. Relating Improves Neuroplasticity
Did you know that isolation is not good for your brain? A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston (United States) reveals that loneliness increases the risk of dementia.
A good tip to enhance the benefits of socialization is to do things in the company (go for a walk, attend a cooking class ) or meet a friend or family member once or twice a week to talk, but nothing special happened to you.
This way, you will be forced to bring up conversation topics and stimulate the mind.
5. Your Brain Needs Rest Too
Sleeping is essential to improve memory. Sleep is a fully active period for the brain.
While we sleep, whole cleaning machinery is put into operation that removes toxic products from the brain, such as the amyloid-beta protein that accumulates during the day.
Also, hormones are released, and proteins are synthesized that free us from fatigue and repair the damage that the brain suffers, something much more complex.
Logically, you have to rest well to achieve this goal. If the sleep is light, and you do not reach the deepest stages, the nerve cells do not recover properly.
6. Factors That Impair Neuroplasticity
- Sleeping badly and not having moments to disconnect.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Smoking and drinking more than 2 glasses of wine a day.
- A diet is rich in saturated fat and sugar.
- Take a few vegetables and bluefish.
- High cholesterol, glucose, or blood pressure.
- Having a few social relationships, not dating