What is Neuroplasticity?


Dividat video series - Neuroplasticity

Did you know that neuroplasticity is fundamental to your daily life, your health and well-being? Since it is so important, we decided to break it down and provide further insight into what neuroplasticity really is. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the human brain to change throughout life. This means that your brain is able to change and adapt in response to experiences, for example, training and exercising. 

There are several different mechanisms that underlie these brain changes.

New cells (generation of new cells e.g., neurons in certain brain regions). We call this process Neurogenesis. 

New synapes (generation of new connections between neurons). We call this process Synaptogenesis.

Adapted cells and synapses (strengthened or weakened neural connections through use or lack of use).

New blood vessels can be generated to support the brain with additional nutrients and oxygen. We call this process Angiogenesis.

Neuroplasticity is incredibly important because it is at the root of essential human experiences. It helps to recover after injuries/diseases and to counteract age-related changes in the brain. Our brains are the most flexible and adaptive when we're young but luckily neuroplasticity also continues in older age - but we need to use our brain functions to improve and not lose them. And for this we need a certain amount of practice, repetition and training intensity.

Now, your question might be, how can you exercise your brain and trigger neuroplasticity?

It might not be very surprising that cognitive training really helps to not only improve your brain functions but also your brain structure. On the other hand, it might be a bit more surprising to know that physical activity really helps to not only improve cognitive functions but also brain structure. This means that when you go for a walk, when you do strength training or dancing, you really do something good not only for your body, but also for your brain. 

There are very important scientific findings that prove for the best effects on the brain it seems to be crucial to combine physical activity with cognitive stimulation, meaning to combine physical and cognitive training at the same time. This makes complete sense when we consider that most of our daily activities combine thinking and moving. This means that our daily life is based on an intact communication between the brain and the body, what we like to call physical-cognitive interplay. 

One option to conduct combined cognitive-motor training is using a training device called the Dividat Senso.  The Dividat Senso provides the ideal platform for cognitive-motor training by interactively linking cognitive tasks with movement tasks. The outcome is the optimization of combined physical and cognitive specific tasks and trainings.

Be sure to check back as we will soon dive into more combined training approaches.