El ejercicio físico combate el deterioro de las capacidades cognitivas relacionado con la edad

A medida que envejecemos, los tejidos y órganos se deterioran, las células tienen más dificultades para multiplicarse o repararse y su funcionalidad disminuye. Este fenómeno también ocurre en el cerebro: con la edad, las neuronas disminuyen en número, pero también en funcionalidad. Si los investigadores están trabajando en formas de rejuvenecer las células humanas con la técnica de la clonación , otros científicos apuestan por una solución más orgánica. A través del ejercicio físico se quiere aumentar las capacidades de determinadas áreas del cerebro, en particular las relacionadas con la memoria.

Inflamación del cerebro, responsable del envejecimiento

Los estudios han demostrado que el ejercicio físico moderado produce efectos antiinflamatorios que pueden llegar al cerebro, reduciendo la progresión de la enfermedad de Alzheimer o la demencia senil. Según un estudio de enero de 2022 , el envejecimiento provoca una inflamación crónica en el cerebro y perjudica la neurogénesis, es decir, la producción de nuevas neuronas. Esta inflamación podría explicar por qué la función cerebral disminuye con la edad. Además de explicar cómo ocurre el envejecimiento en el cerebro, este estudio mostró cómo el ejercicio físico se asoció con la neurogénesis.

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Al rastrear la actividad física de los participantes, que tenían un promedio de 86 años, hasta su muerte, un análisis post-mortem reveló que alrededor del 60% de ellos mostraban signos de la enfermedad de Alzheimer que no habían desencadenado síntomas de deterioro cognitivo. Cuanto más jóvenes eran y más activos físicamente, más eficiente era su producción de nuevas neuronas. Según este estudio, la actividad física puede, por lo tanto, ayudar a desarrollar la resistencia del cerebro a los efectos del envejecimiento cerebral.

Según otro estudio reciente del Centro de Investigación Inserm de Caen, el ejercicio físico también desempeña un papel en el mantenimiento de los niveles de insulina y el índice de masa corporal, lo que puede ayudar a proteger el volumen cerebral y prevenir la demencia. Según Géraldine Poisnel, PhD y coautora de la investigación, los adultos mayores que son físicamente activos experimentan beneficios cardiovasculares, lo que puede conducir a una mayor integridad estructural del cerebro.

El ejercicio físico mantiene el volumen cerebral durante el envejecimiento

Como explica Guillermo López Lluch , investigador de la Universidad Pablo de Olavide, cuando hacemos ejercicio sometemos a nuestro organismo a un estrés moderado, porque obligamos a nuestras células a aumentar su gasto energético. Los cambios fisiológicos necesarios para hacer frente a este estrés moderado (movilización de nutrientes, que se trasladan de las reservas a los músculos) constituyen la » hormesis«. Durante la hormesis, los músculos liberan sustancias a la sangre (miocinas) que informan al resto de órganos de que la demanda energética va en aumento. Así, cuando las mioquinas llegan al cerebro, inducen la expresión de genes que aumentarán la capacidad de las neuronas para establecer nuevas conexiones o para reforzar las existentes, manteniéndose así activas.

86 comentarios

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