A healthy brain means a healthy life—and a healthy life means a healthy brain. While genes and environment affect our brain development, lifestyle is responsible for most types of changes in brain function. The choices we make actively help or hinder how effectively we can process information, retrieve memories, regulate our emotions, communicate clearly, create and imagine, and solve problems. Healthy amounts of quality nutrition, exercise, rest, intellectual and creative stimulation, and social connection are all crucial boosts to the system, while artificial stimulants and suppressants, head injuries, sleep deprivation, and social isolation all have direct tangible impacts on our brain health.
Much like in our arms or legs, our brain’s “muscles” can rebuild and grow if they’re given the right exercise. In this episode, neuroscientist Tracey Shors talks about how her research has led her to explore links between physical and mental exercise.