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How Weight Lifting Can Change The Structure Of Your Brain, Science Explains

How Weight Lifting Can Change The Structure Of Your Brain, Science Explains

Our brains are not only fantastic computers, but they have the ability to heal and re-work themselves. When we exercise our bodies it helps the blood and oxygen to flow through the brain which helps to keep it running smoothly. Recent studies have shown that one of the most beneficial exercises that we can do for our brains is strength training.

The Well section of the NY Times states that the participants in this study were between the ages of “65 and 75” who had existing lesions in the white matter area of their brains. The women were put into one of three different groups in the study.

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One group of participants took part in a once a week light training session that worked on the upper and lower body. Group two of the participants also did the light weight training but they did this twice a week. The third group of participants took part in stretching and balance training twice per week.

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The Brain Scans

The study that was conducted on how strength training affects the brain took place for one full year. At the end of that year all of the women went through brain scans, as well as having their walking ability tested. The scans of the women in group three showed more lesions than before the study began. The women in group one also displayed similar results as those in group three on the scans.

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The women in group two displayed some fascinating scans at the end of the year. This was the group of women who lifted weights two times per week for the year. These women displayed less white matter shrinking than the other groups. The lesions that they had in their white matter before the scans grew a small amount, but nothing like those of the other groups. The women in group two also displayed better balance and faster walking speed than the other two groups.

The Results

The results of this study show that while lesions in our white matter may be unavoidable the overall brain and muscle control can be helped through weight lifting exercises. No matter what age the person is, be it young or elderly or somewhere in between, exercise and strength training can benefit the body as well as the brain.

Featured photo credit: http://www.medicaldaily.com/”http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-128928983/stock-photo-imaging-of-the-brain-on-x-ray.html?src=TPLbvlcZd7KT2fJheJT2mg-1-10%22 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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