Most of us are well aware of the benefits of exercise on the outer appearance of our body, but we may not know just how important daily exercise is on the function of our internal body. One important area of the body that benefits from regular activity is the brain: “…exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills” (Harvard Health). Instead of waiting until it’s too late, why not start taking preventative steps to help preserve your memory and brain function? Here are some reasons to start considering adding exercise to your daily schedule.
“Studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function, have a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly have improved thinking among people with vascular cognitive impairment” (Mayo Clinic). Planning 3-5 workouts a week where you partake in moderate exercise (i.e., walking, biking, etc.) is a great way to improve your overall cognitive function, and can also help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
As we age, the connections in our brain can become reduced, and our recall and ability to remember things suffer. “Physical activity seems to help your brain not only by keeping the blood flowing but also by increasing chemicals that protect the brain” (Mayo Clinic). When you exercise, you increase the blood flow in your body – this includes your brain – and also receive a release of many important chemicals that help retain proper brain function. The release of norepinephrine and BDNF help boost memory retrieval and foster long-term brain health (Cathe).
Start Moving & Don’t Stop!
No matter your age, it’s never too early, or too late, to start incorporating exercise into your routine. The earlier you start, the longer you give your body to build and maintain memory power while enhancing overall mobility so you can keep moving! “Start by maintaining a regular workout routine well before you’re at risk for age-related memory loss; this will help protect your brain. And give yourself permission to continually switch things up on the exercise front. Cardio will keep your brain sharp, but activities such as yoga will improve focus and concentration” (Aaptiv).
If you or a loved one could benefit from more movement, we offer SilverSneakers programs at Optivus! While our gym is currently close, we encourage you to inquire about our programs and facilities so you can get started as soon as our gym is allowed to re-open.