Why Leg Exercises are Crucial for Brain and Nervous System

Recent research has indicated that the neurological health of an individual depends as much on the signals sent by the leg muscles to the brain as much as it depends on the signals sent from the brain to the leg muscles. Now according to a report in a reputed medical journal, it has been claimed by neurosurgeons in Delhi that has provided clues as to why patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, spinal muscular atrophy, and other diseases related to nervous system, their condition tends to decline when their movement gets reduced.

Study Findings

The study found that individuals who are not able to do load-bearing exercises such as bed-ridden patients or astronauts on extended periods during their space travel tend to not only lose their muscle mass but their body chemistry also gets altered. This eventually affects the nervous system.

The study was conducted by restricting the movement of the hind legs of mice for nearly a month. The mice did not exhibit any kind of stress and continued their functions of eating and grooming normally. Once the trial concluded, the researches examined a particular area of the brain known as the sub-ventricular zone which is also the area which serves the role of maintaining nerve cell health and new neurons are produced. Here the researchers found that limiting physical activity lead to decrease in the number of neural stem cells by a massive seventy per cent. Also, neurons and oligodendrocytes whose function is to insulate nerve cells were not able to fully mature.

The research was able to conclude that the use of legs in weight-bearing exercises sends signals to the brain which are essential for the production of healthy neural cells. It is these very cells which are important for the brain and the nervous system. If exercising was to be reduced, then the body will not be able to produce new nerve cells which allows us to handle stress in our daily lives.

Neurosurgeons Advice

According to the neurosurgeons who conducted the study, humans are naturally meant to walk, run, sit or do other activities which involve using the muscles in the leg. Restricting exercise lowers the amount of oxygen which the body receives and it results in altered metabolism and the creation of an anaerobic environment. Such a practice also has an impact on a gene which is known as CDK5Rap1 which regulates the health of mitochondria – the powerhouse of any cell.

Final Thoughts

The mentioned research has been able to conclusively prove that movement has an essential role to play in the well-being of the human body and has a wide range of other implications. This is something which even the astronauts who spend prolonged periods in space must bear in mind and thus do some load-bearing exercises to ensure their good health.

It is thus safe to conclude, that we all, irrespective of our age must indulge in some form of exercise on a regular basis to ensure our overall well-being and longevity.

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