Exercise Shown to Boost Memory
There are numerous reasons why we should spend a few minutes every day being physically active. It help ward off diseases like heart disease, prevents against strokes and diabetes. Or maybe you’re interested in losing weight, lowering your blood pressure, looking better, or maybe even to ward off depression. But here’s another reason to exercise that you might not have realized. Exercise change the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills. And as we age brain fog increases.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is associated with verbal memory and learning. Resistance training did not have the same effect on the hippocampus.
Researchers have found that across the globe one new case of dementia is detected every four seconds. And by the year 2050 there is estimated to be more than 115 million people with dementia across the world.
Exercise helps boost memory and thinking through bough indirect and direction methods. The benefits of exercise come from the ability to reduce insulin resistance, decrease inflammation, and also stimulate the release of growth factors – chemicals sin the brain that affect the health of brain cells, growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even increases the number and survival of new brain cells. Exercise has also been shown to improve sleep and overall mood, and to reduce stress and anxiety. Often times problems in these areas are the cause or lead to cognitive impairment.
Numerous studies have shown that the cortex part of the brain, the part that controls thinking and memory, has a great volume in people who exercise versus people who do not. “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.
What Does This Mean?
So what should we do? Start getting the blood going! There are no studies that prove exactly which aerobic exercise has the positive influence on the brain. Almost all of the studies look at simple walking. Other forms of physical activity should have the same positive effect.
How much exercise do we need? The study participants walked briskly for one hour, twice a week. That’s really not much at all – most of us all ready get at least this. Standard US recommendations are half an hour of moderate physicist activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week. That may seem like a lot, but start with a few minutes every day and increase the length of time until you can reach your goal.
If you would rather not do walking, look into other modes of physical activity, such as stair climbing, tennis, swimming, or sports. Household activities that get your heart going also count, such as raking leaves, or intense floor scrubbing. Anything that gets you in a light sweat counts.
Looking For More Ideas?
- Join a gym and participate in their group exercise classes
- Work out with a friend who will keep you motivated
- Hire a personal trainer – paying someone will keep you going
Whatever methods of physical activity is that you choose, commit to having exercise be a habit, almost like taking a prescription medication. After all, they say that exercise is medicine, and that can go on the top of anyone’s list of reasons to work out.