The Hippocampus: Your brain's memory center

and how to strengthen it through dance

06 March 2023
For Pia Poppy

In this article, we will explain what the hippocampus is, how it operates, how it can be stimulated and grown, and how it can be damaged. We will also discuss how Nia holistic movement can help to strengthen the hippocampus.

The brain is a complex and intricate organ that is responsible for controlling our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. One of the most important parts of the brain is the hippocampus, which plays a critical role in learning, memory, and spatial navigation.

What is the Hippocampus and how does it operate?

The hippocampus is a small, seahorse-shaped structure located in the temporal lobe of the brain. Despite its small size, the hippocampus is critical for many cognitive functions, including learning, memory, and spatial navigation.

The hippocampus operates by processing information from our senses and storing it as memories. It also helps us navigate through our environment by creating spatial maps. When we recall a memory, the hippocampus retrieves the information and sends it to other parts of the brain for processing.

Woman's arm on the floor during a Nia class, stimulating the Hippocampus
Woman dancing on the floor at a Nia Africa workshop

How can you stimulate and grow the Hippocampus?

There are several ways to stimulate and grow the hippocampus. One way is through exercise, which has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus. Aerobic exercise, in particular, is beneficial for brain health and can improve memory and cognitive function. Mental exercises such as learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, or doing crossword puzzles can also challenge the brain and help to build new neural connections, which can improve memory and cognitive function.

How can the hippocampus be damaged?

Unfortunately, the hippocampus can also be damaged by various factors, including aging, stress, and certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In addition, some medications and substances such as alcohol can also harm the hippocampus.

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How can Nia help?

Nia is a form of movement that combines dance, martial arts, and mindfulness. It is a low-impact activity that can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels. Nia uses music and movement to engage the brain and stimulate the hippocampus. The movement patterns are designed to challenge the brain and improve memory and cognitive function. In addition, the mindfulness component of Nia can help to reduce stress, which can be damaging to the hippocampus.


Final thoughts

In conclusion, the hippocampus is a small but essential structure in the brain that plays a crucial role in learning, memory, and spatial navigation. It can be stimulated and grown through exercise and mental exercises, while it can be damaged by aging, stress, and certain diseases. Nia holistic movement is one way to strengthen the hippocampus and improve brain health. Incorporating activities such as Nia into our daily routines can help to keep our brains healthy and functioning at their best.

Woman practicing Nia dance while stimulating the vagus nerve

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Woman dancing during a Nia technique dance class

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