The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Mind and Body Reflect One Another

We know through martial arts practice that the mind and body reflect each other. By working on one, we are also working on the other.

We also know that different martial arts practices "shapes" the body in different ways. It stand to reason as you are using different muscles, doing different movements, etc. 

A recent study has shown that different forms of exercise actually effects different parts of the brain! 

Martial arts are not only different physically, but perhaps mentally as well. 

Below is an excerpt from an article which discusses how different exercises effects the brain differently. The full article may be read here.

Pumping iron to sculpt your biceps. Yoga poses to stretch and relax. Running to whittle your waistline and get fit fast. There are loads of reasons why it’s smart to exercise, and most of us are familiar with the menu of options and how each can shape and benefit your body. But we are discovering that there are numerous ways in which exercise makes you smart too. Many of its effects have been going unnoticed, but if you were to peer inside the heads of people who like to keep active, you’d see that different exercises strengthen, sculpt and shape the brain in myriad ways.

That the brains of exercisers look different to those of their more sedentary counterparts is, in itself, not new. We have been hearing for years that exercise is medicine for the mind, especially aerobic exercise. Physical fitness has been shown to help with the cognitive decline associated with dementia, Parkinson’s disease and depression, and we know this is at least in part because getting your blood pumping brings more oxygen, growth factors, hormones and nutrients to your brain, leading it — like your muscles, lungs and heart — to grow stronger and more efficient.

But a new chapter is beginning in our understanding of the influence of physical exercise on cognition. Researchers are starting to find more specific effects related to different kinds of exercise.
Specifically, high-intensity intervals, aerobic exercise, weight training, yoga and sports drills are affect different areas of the brain.

They are looking beyond the standard recommendation of 30 minutes of moderate, aerobic exercise a day, for the sake of your brain. Are there benefits to going slower or faster? To lifting weights, or performing sun salutations? Whether you want a boost in focus for an exam, find it hard to relax or are keen to quit smoking, there’s a prescription for you.

“Lifting weights helps improve complex thoughts, problem-solving and multitasking”

The first clue that exercise affects the brain came from rodent studies 15 years ago, which showed that allowing mice access to a running wheel led to a boost in neuron formation in their hippocampi, areas of the brain essential for memory. That’s because exercise causes hippocampal neurons to pump out a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes the growth of new neurons. The mice showed improvements in memory that allowed them to navigate mazes better.

The findings were soon translated to humans. Older adults who did aerobic exercise three times a week for a year also grew larger hippocampi and performed better in memory tests. Those with the highest levels of BDNF in their blood had the biggest increases in this brain region.


4 comments:

Compass Architect said...

Good post. ...

Rick Matz said...

Kushida Sensei said that the body and mind reflect one another and that when we work on one, we work on the other. In my experience, that is spot on.

Zacky Chan said...

Fascinating article! It would be awesome to see this kind of brain mapping testing according to different martial arts.

Rick Matz said...

That would be an interesting study.