SIZE MATTERS IN TRIATHLON AND FITNESS TRAINING

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CerebellumReferring to brain size. As you exercise more, various parts of your brain actually grow, sizewise, and including increased ability to perform their function(s). (from an extremely well referenced ISSA article by Alexander Van Houten)

Take, for instance, the cerebellum; only about ten percent of the brain, yet contains more than half of all the brain neurons. The biggest effect on the size and functioning of the cerebellum is…exercise, of course. The process is one of actually increasing the number of neurons and improving the connections between the already existing neurons.

The cerebellum is responsible for your walking, balancing, and “getting around” and, importantly, for the proper functioning of emotion, speaking, memory, and social skills. Small cerebellums have been correlated with the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia. *

To see how exercise affects the cerebellum—an important region of the brain for all kinds of functions. They have found that when a lab rat exercises as much as it wants for eight weeks, the cerebellum grows very large. When a rat is restricted to three exercise sessions on the rodent wheel for eight weeks, the cerebellum is a normal size. “When an unlucky lab rat is restricted from exercise for eight weeks—when it is forced to be sedentary—its cerebellum shrinks to almost half the normal size.”

Infant LearningBrain scientists have been studying “neuroplasticity” and brain development for many years. Neuroplasticity can also be called the fountain of brain youth. We’re reminded how really young children can rapidly learn languages, walk, figure out how to open a jar…. because their brain and nervous system has the capability of neuroplasticity which decreases as we get older.

So, to reiterate, exercise is one of the important contributors to increased brain size, brain function, and even habits; exercise allows you to stick to a diet you may be on. After exercising, you don’t feel quite as good, somehow, about eating a pint of ice cream and watching TV afterward.
So get woke and start putting one foot in front of the other; take the first step to the best part of your life.
* Woodruff-Pak DS, Foy MR, Akopian GG, Lee KH, Zach J, Nguyen KP, Comalli DM, Kennard JA, AgelanA, Thompson RF. Differential effects and rates of normal aging in cerebellum and hippocampus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107: 1624–1629, 2010

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