10 free, healthy activities in Toowoomba

Tree in Autumn, East Creek, ToowoombaSo you’re one of those lucky people who live in Toowoomba… and maybe you’ve been reading some of our recent articles about the benefits of exercise – like that exercise is good for brain neuroplasticity, or that exercise can help prevent dementia. Now you want to get outdoors and do something healthy, right?

One of the reasons you’re lucky to be living in Toowoomba is that there are so many opportunities in this area to be active. Here are a few ideas to get you started – 10 free and healthy things you can do in Toowoomba:
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Rewire your brain: neuroplasticity FTW!

Magnetic resonance imaging capture of a human brain
ABC Radio National’s Health Report recently did a fascinating program on neuroplasticity: Brain plasticity / Measuring brain plasticity (for those who don’t want to listen to the audio there is also a link there to the transcript of the program). I highly recommend this program which outlines some exciting new implications of research into the workings of the human brain.

Our brains are not like computers, which have a fixed hardware onto which you load software and that stores information by re-arranging some ones and zeros electrically. For one thing, the transfer of information in our brains uses a highly complicated combination of electrical and chemical signalling. More significantly, though, as we form new memories and learn new skills our brains actually change structurally. Neuroplasticity is the ability your brain has to change structure – to “rewire itself” in response to experience. Continue reading

Remember to Exercise … and Don’t Forget!

Exercise is good for you. I think we’ve all heard that often enough. But some new research adds yet another factor to the many benefits offered by exercise.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham Medical School have found a mechanism by which healthy physical activity might protect against alzheimer’s disease (Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Receptor 1 Activation During Exposure to Novelty Stress Protects Against Alzheimer’s Disease-Like Cognitive Decline in AβPP/PS1 Mice). It has been known from past research that physical and mental activity may reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. However, why these are beneficial is still being investigated. In their recently published paper, authors Scullion, Hewitt & Pardon note an apparent paradox (emphasis mine):

Susceptibility to stress is a risk factor for AD but positive lifestyle factors effective in delaying AD progression in mouse models (e.g., exercise, environmental enrichment) improve stress resistance despite inducing a number of markers of chronic stress

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