I came across a podcast I just had to listen to because it was about the relationship between exercise and the brain, exercise as treatment for ADHD. I have had an ongoing series in this blog about wellness and the struggle to maintain fitness and I try to throw in there from time to time how my mental health is affected.
Justine Ruotolo talks with Dr John Ratey about exercise and how it improves the Neuroplasticity of our minds. Justine and Dr. Ratey talk about rigorous exercise of the body as well as meditation (exercise of the mind) and how our brain is similar to a muscle. Activities such as dance, martial arts, gymnastics, soccer… exercise that requires constant change of position, all help with brain health. Dr. Ratey starts by talking about a patient he had in 1981 who had been a marathon runner. The runner suffered an injury and subsequent depression, and began exhibiting signs of ADD. His whole life he had essentially been self medicating with exercise. They also talk about exercise to manage behavior in children by activating their brains instead of putting them on time out. Exercise is great for all ages and for many disorders or dysfunctions, exercise could help with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Treating with exercise is what I want to do. Exercise increases receptors of dopamine and norepinephrine, and is good for all of us, not just for treating mental of physical illness but for applying our brain and body the way they are designed to be used. Too easily we get sucked into other dopamine triggers like video games, alcohol, etc., which can damage our brains instead of strengthen them. Exercise is great for treating aggression, depression, self discipline, self respect, as well as developing our neuroplasticity.
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