ALLISON BUSKE, PT, DPT, CBIS
Allison can be reached at email@example.com
We all know the benefits that exercise can play on our heart health, mental health (depression/anxiety), and weight. But one that you may not have thought about is your memory and brain health!
Researchers estimate by 2050, more than 139 million people will have dementia worldwide. (Alzheimer’s disease international). There are 10 million new cases diagnosed a year, which boils down to a new case every 3.2 seconds! It currently costs 1.3 trillion dollars a year globally for care of these loved ones. By 2050, it is estimated to cost 2.8 trillion dollars!
According to brainfacts.org, by the age of 30s, our ability to remember starts to decline. By your 40s, your brain starts to lose volume (5% every decade).
With all those statistics, it leads to wanting more knowledge on how we can work at prevention and use our vast knowledge (that’s right, read and learn more to keep that brain at its peak) to give us the best benefits of our life! During the constant craze and hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it seems we are forgetting more and more while we get busier and busier. Is there time for you to take care of yourself?
Exercise increases blood flow
Exercise helps increase circulation. Increased circulation of blood helps deliver proper nutrients throughout the body, assisting the brain in its job. The brain has a high metabolic demand and increasing circulation, it can help with brain function and in return memory, function, and processing. High blood pressure has also been correlated with the increased risk of dementia. Lowering your blood pressure will help improve your memory.
Exercise protects against chronic inflammation
An increase in blood flow, helps the blood circulate and decreases inflammatory processes that can occur when the blood is more stagnant. Having a low level of inflammation in the body has contributed to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. But, inflammation also affects the processing of the brain and memory. Exercise helps release chemicals in the brain that stimulate new blood vessels and brain cells.
Exercise improves volume
The prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex are the areas of your brain that control thinking and memory. Studies have suggested that people who exercise, have larger areas of the brain, including the above two. Exercise can help improve your memory’s capacity and strength.
Exercise clears your head
Exercise can indirectly improve your sleep, mood, and stabilize emotions. This will help reduce stress and anxieties, which in turn can help with the brain fog and allow your brain to process the information you need at a quicker rate. Exercise can decrease the number of stress receptors, which in turn can help decrease the impact of a stressful situation.
People have coined a term of “runner’s high”, which is when your body releases endorphins that give you a joyful “high”. These endorphins when released, give you positive feelings which will pair and reduce the feelings of anxiety and depression.
How much should I exercises?
All the information above, is just one more reason to start or continue exercising. But what is an appropriate amount? Most research studies the exercise form of walking. One study published in Neuroimage, found that participates who completed 6 months of regular brisk walks (3x/week for 40 minutes) have improved white matter and memory, compared to the group that completed stretching and balance exercises for the same amount of time. Another study studied walking for 1 hour, 2x/week for a total of 120 minutes of moderate exercise.
If that seems intimidating start with 10-20 minutes of slower paced exercises 3-4 times a week and slowly increase your frequency and duration. If you don’t like walking, any form of exercise that increases your heart rate is beneficial. You can try swimming, dancing, stair climbing, tennis, pickle ball…the list goes on and on! Another benefit could be exercising with a friend, group class, or hire a personal trainer to get you motivated! Working out with others forms new memories, social skills, and keeps you motivated to reach your goals!
ALLISON BUSKE, PT, DPT, CBIS