We know that physical exercise is favorable for our health. Physical health by improving all our systems, the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, our muscles and joints. And also our brain since in several studies the effect of physical exercise on our mental health and our cognitive abilities has been evidenced. All this thanks to its influence on synaptic plasticity.
Neuroplasticity is understood as the ability of the nervous system to change its morphology or functionality through development, due to experience or after being affected by an injury (Kandel, Schwartz and Jessell, 2001).
The brain has several mechanisms to guarantee this plasticity. Among them are the growth of dentrites and axons (parts of neurons), regulation of neurotransmitters (substances that are transmitted between neurons), activation of neuronal connections that were inhibited, regeneration, which corresponds to denervated branches that grow back and join with other cells and long-term potentiation.
The latter is thanks to the BDNF protein (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that is linked to synaptic plasticity and can be generated by stimulating physical exercise.
Continuous aerobic physical exercise activates neurogenesis, the creation of neurons, in the hippocampus, an essential area for memory and learning.
Physical activity helps to modulate stress and reduce levels of anxiety that can influence our daily lives. We can react better to stressful situations. With physical exercise we release a series of hormones and neurotransmitters that facilitate us to experience a feeling of well-being and satisfaction. Physical exercise improves executive functions in patients who have suffered brain damage.
At the Neurorehabilitation Clinic we include the practice of physical exercise in all our treatments. It not only makes the patient more involved in their recovery but also as a stimulus to facilitate the neuroplasticity processes necessary to recover mobility, balance, neurocognitive and language abilities.
Among our recommendations is the practice of a moderate aerobic physical exercise adapted to the patient’s abilities through the practice of gait, on treadmill or surface and the use of static bicycles of legs or arms.