You knew that athletes, jocks and ‘fitness nuts’ like to exercise, but who else would want to exercise, when they could be taking it easy and relaxing? How about anyone who doesn’t want to come down with Alzheimers’s disease? If losing weight, staying strong and gaining more energy aren’t enough reasons for you to exercise, here is information on how it keeps your brain healthy:
Physical activity improves learning and memory for people of all ages, including people with trouble remembering.
How Exercise Helps Memory
Exercise helps your memory by increasing brain growth factors that increase:
- the numbers of neurons (brain cells)
- blood flow to the brain, and
- brain cell connections
Regular physical activity also helps you fight off declines in brain and body cell energy and immune system function.
A growing body of research also suggests that exercise may reduce the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s. Those with genetic susceptibility to Alzheimer’s stand to gain the most from physical activity.
Exercise promotes brain health in advancing age as well as Alzheimer’s and protects against cognitive impairment and dementia. Even walking as little as one mile per day can help.
Inactivity increases the risk of Alzheimer’s by almost 200%!
Other Exercise Benefits
- Not only do your muscles get stronger and gain better endurance with regular exercise, but your cells also gain more ability to produce energy.
- You will feel more energetic, your brain will have more energy to function, and you burn calories more efficiently.
- Working out keeps the energy centers in your cells, called mitochondria, healthier.
- Regular physical activity may help strengthen your immune system to fight off germs too.
Watch Out For Brain Inflammation
An increase in brain inflammation is a risk factor in brain problems.
Inflammation is associated with failing memory in the elderly.
You can reduce brain inflammation with :
- regular moderate exercise.
- Avoiding eating lots of carbohydrates,
- eating lots of vegetables, some fruit, good proteins and healthy oils
- Avoid large amounts of sugar and chemical additives
What Are The Best Exercises?
A good mix of exercise is to do something that makes you breathe hard for a 15-20 minutes and then do something more slowly to build muscle stability like Foundation Training.
Walking, riding a stationary bike, water aerobics, all get you breathing and moving. This improves blood flow, breathing, and muscle endurance.
Stretch bands, free weights or weight machines strengthen muscles at any age.
Find an exercise that you enjoy and that your doctor feels is safe for you.
Remember: the less you do, the less you can do. But even if you have not been active in a long time you can start any day to return to health because the more you do, the more you will be able to do. And remember this is true both physically, but mentally as well.
So, you don’t have to be an athlete, you don’t have to be a jock or a health nut to benefit from exercise. It is just a part of being normal and keeping your brain and body from having problems. The more you know and participate in healthy activities the more fun you can have staying healthy.
If you need help to keep your body moving with less pain, give us a call at 978-535-6155.
(Information taken from the article: “Exercise Counteracts Declining Hippocampal Function in Aging and Alzeheimer’s Disease”; in Neurobiology of Disease, June 2012.)