Physical Activity & The Nervous System
Edited By: Naomi Abayomi
The Nervous System Overview The nervous system is a complex network that allows you to interact with your surroundings. It plays various roles:
Sensation –transmission, encoding, and perception of information from both the body and external environment
Movement – the ability to plan and execute movements
Cognition – attending to external stimuli or internal motivation and making the appropriate responses
FUN FACT: It is estimated that there are over 100 billion neurons (and even more supporting cells!) that perform all of these functions!
Physical Activity and Chronic Conditions of the Nervous System
There is evidence to show that physical activity can have beneficial effects on preventing and/or alleviating symptoms of various chronic conditions of the nervous system such as:
Physical Activity, Cognition and Neuroplasticity
Physical activity has been shown to have beneficial effects on executive functioning and memory
In more technical terms, physical activity facilitates neuroplasticity, particularly through neurogenesis (formation of new neurons), synaptogenesis (formation of new neural connections), and angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels in the brain)
Other Effects of Physical Activity on the Nervous System
Physical activity can promote brain development in children
Physical activity can enhance brain structure and improve brain activity in adolescents
Physical activity facilitates learning in children and adolescents
There are associations between sleep duration, sleep quality and physical activity
Physical activity is great for your nervous system throughout the lifespan!
It is important to get moving to maintain your nervous system, to prevent chronic conditions of the nervous system, and to help manage symptoms of neurological conditions you may have
Stay tuned for how physical activity benefits other body systems!
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