So, my teacher sent me some articles she found on cognitive function and aging. For those of you who read this and don't know, I'm doing my thesis on it. (Yes, for sure, I know I get excited about other things, but the mind is extremely fascinating to me, and so are studying the effects of aerobic exercise on the body, including the brain.)
Well, this article is titled, "Long-term treadmill exercise induces neuroprotective molecular changes in rat brain"
Rodents are similar to humans in the physiological workings of the body. Anyways, they compared 3 groups-moderately exercised rats, handled but nonexercising group (handled on the treadmill somehow I guess), and a sedentary group. What they found: That exercise...
-improved many brain parameters especially in the hippocampus.
-upregulated sirtuin-1, a protein in the brain that extends life
-stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis
- activated AMPK
-preventions of signs of neurodegeneration
"These findings are consistent with other reports showing that physical exercise has positive effects on hormesis."
I wasn't quite sure what mitochondrial biogensis was, so I looked it up, and came across this from another study.
"Moderate exercise also mimics CR by inducing mitochondrial biogenesis. Negative regulators of PGC-1alpha such as RIP140 and 160MBP suppress mitochondrial biogenesis. Another mechanism involved in mitochondrial maintenance is mitochondrial fission/fusion and this process also involves an increasing number of regulatory proteins. Dysfunction of either biogenesis or fission/fusion of mitochondria is associated with diseases of the neuromuscular system and aging, and a greater understanding of the regulation of these processes should help us to ultimately control the aging process." CR is caloric restriction. I've read some studies for class saying that in rodents as well as 1 study involving humans for a short period of time, calorie restriction also helps slow the aging process and diseases associated with aging. However, not many people are going to want to restrict their calorie intake so much for the rest of their lives :) So it's good news that exercise, and just a moderate amount, can slow the aging process.
This, I've kind of always known, and been scared of chronic illnesses later in life. Yes, I worry about these things now, even though I'm young lol. My grandmother had a heart attack, and my grandpa had a # of them, with triple by-pass surgery. My other grandma has Alzheimer's. I am going to try to do everything I can to avoid these diseases. This is why I do what I do. I want to see if I can live a very long, diseased free life. This is why during my 40hr internship I decided to train for a full marathon at the age of 22. This is why in grad school, I still work out just as intensely as the summer months. This is why I sometimes workout twice a day in grad school. Sometimes I lose sleep (only sometimes, don't worry) in order to get workouts done (still producing great school work!). I am fully confident that when I have a full time job I'm still going to be able to work out for at least an hour a day. I did it once and can do it the rest of my life, and I'm doing it now because school+assistantship is like a full time job. Oh and if I decide to have children someday-I'll be that crazy jogging with a stroller or attaching the baby thing on the back of my bike. Nothing will slow me down unless I get injured or die from the crazy adventures I tend to take on! :) Plus, if I didn't workout this much...I wouldn't be as fit to do the things I really love doing...like snowboarding for 8hrs a day or going surfing or backpacking through mountains...:) Live the life you love! Who cares what everyone else thinks.
Of course...you don't have to work out as intensely as I like to...this study..and a number of others show that it's just moderate exercise that is needed :) (Although I think more intense exercise few days a week can produce even greater benefits....:)
I am also proud to say that I have no gray hairs at 24, almost 25, and my mom had her first at 18 LOL :) Of course, she's wasn't as athletic like me :) But I sure do look like her! She looks pretty well for her age of 55-she still walks or rides her bike regularly.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18662766 (mitochondrial biogenesis article)
http://jap.physiology.org/content/111/5/1380.abstract (the exercise and brain health article)
It's so cool that sirtuin-1 extends life! And that exercise can boost this protein!!