The brain is a complex mechanism which governs the way we think. We know it needs glucose because of all the mental strain it endures but why does the brain need oxygen; and how can we maximize it’s throughput by utilizing oxygen in the best possible way.
Firstly the question answered: Why does the brain need oxygen?
- Oxygen is a requirement to produce energy
- Since the brain is a massive consumer of energy; it subsequently requires huge amounts of oxygen traveling through the blood stream.
- The brain uses 3 times as much oxygen as muscles in the body do
- Therefore to ensure that the proper amount of oxygen is sent to the brain – two things are necessary: First is proper blood circulation and second is the proper saturation of blood with oxygen
- If you were to visit a hospital, one such test which doctors can perform is the “Pulse Oximeter” test which is capable of indicating how well the blood is saturated with oxygen
How can you double up on that oxygen feed?
So you now know that oxygen is like that pesky cousin you can’t dodge. So what’s the next step? The answer is simple, give the brain what it wants…..
If you want to double up on the oxygen you feed your brain; here are some tips to help you along:
- Do brisk walking progressively throughout the day – brief 5-10 minutes sessions can greatly increase blood circulation. If you are desk bound; it helps to take regular breaks to stretch your muscles; and in this case your brain as well. Take a walk to the printer instead of asking someone else to fetch your documents; or set up meetings at the other person’s office to give you an opportunity to flex those muscles. The journey may even help you think more clearly before the meeting starts.
- Improve the way you breath – Practice deep (diaphragm) breathing. This enables oxygen to move into the lower regions of the lungs where majority of the blood circulation occurs. Alternatively check out this list of breathing techniques that you can use for general health:1) Mindful breathing, 2) Mantra breathing, 3) Square breathing, 4) Nostril breathing, 5) Belly breath
- Standing up – according to a study done by the Oxford University Press Journal “Brain,” standing up on both feet or just one actively increases cerebral circulation. The investigation was done with different standing postures; and showed increased circulation in different areas of the brain during different stances. Here’s your excuse to strut your stuff on the runway.
Exercising to increase blood flow can make you think clearly and possibly get smarter:
You may hit the gym to get that beach body; but did you know that exercising also increases blood flow to the brain which can give you clarity in thinking. More oxygen means more energy and excess brain power. Another reason why you may think clearly after an intense gym session is that the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for thinking is highly active during exercise. When neurons in this part of the brain speed up, research suggests that cognitive abilities increase accordingly.
Another research topic done by the University of Northumbria suggests that mental performance can be greatly increased by inhaling a shot of oxygen. First students were asked to remember a list of words; one group having taken a shot of oxygen and the other none at all. The results showed that those with the oxygen intake performed much more effectively than their non-oxygen intake counterparts. The test was also done using complex stages of the game Tetris which also proved the same result. There is also technology such as oxygen concentrators available to boost oxygen intake.
So now you realize that oxygen is to the brain what fuel is to a car. Ensure that you give your mind all the oxygen it needs to function at optimum conditions. Be a lean mean thinking machine starting today!