Ongoing research indicates that physical as well as mental exercise improves our brain health and there is compelling evidence that exercise produces large cognitive gains, improves memory, and helps fight dementia. How fit are you?
By now I think we are all aware that regular exercise is one of the two most important elements of a healthy lifestyle (along with a healthy diet).
As we learn more about some of the specific benefits of exercising regularly it becomes more and more apparent just how important this is; and that as we grow older this becomes even more critical.
One of the least talked about benefits of exercising our body is it’s impact on brain health. We all know that our brain needs to be exercised to maintain optimal functionality, which is why we need to keep our brain active and stimulated.
Maintaining brain function is extremely important as we age and become susceptible to diseases associated with ageing that have an adverse impact on brain function (Alzheimer’s disease and dementia being the most well known and prevalent).
There are currently 5 million people in the US alone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and its the 6th most common cause of death, killing more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
Altzheimers.org has a great Infographic you can view here.
My Favourite example how effective exercising and stimulating our brain can be
One of my favourite examples of how effective this can be is the fact that in the UK and where I now live, in Australia, High Court judges not only live longer than average lives, but generally continue to serve in this extremely demanding and responsible role well into their 80’s.
This is attributed to the fact that they are required to concentrate for long periods of time, assess often complex and contradictory evidence from prosecution and defence lawyers and reach a verdict based on all the evidence presented. They then have to explain and justify why they reached their conclusions and support that with a long and comprehensive written document that they read to the court in their summarisation and sentencing.
This is a task that very few people could do even in their prime, let alone in their 80’s and has always won my admiration for what they do and why they do it to such an age (it’s not about the money, they have been very well paid for most of their lives).
What amazes me even more is that these judges are so busy and focussed that I am sure almost every one of them would not do any regular physical exercise.
Dr Mercola article
In a new article Dr Mercola explores the impact of strength exercise on brain health and presents some interesting recent research results.
According to Dr Mercola:
“there’s compelling evidence that exercise produces large cognitive gains, improves memory, and helps fight dementia”
“just 20 minutes of strength training was found to enhance long-term memory by about 10 percent” and that
“Daily walking has been found to trigger an anti-aging process, and recent research suggests it may add anywhere from three to seven years to your lifespan”
He also cites the following key benefits:
“Exercise helps protect and improve your brain function by:
- Improving and increasing blood flow to your brain
- Increasing production of nerve-protecting compounds
- Improving development and survival of neurons
- Reducing damaging plaques in your brain
- Altering the way these damaging proteins reside inside your brain, which appears to slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease”
As I said in the introduction, we are all aware that regular exercise and a healthy diet are the two most important elements of a healthy lifestyle and that doing either or both of these things is really not hard.
But so many of us either don’t get it, don’t believe it or simply ignore it. Obesity, which destroys peoples health, is at epidemic levels in developed nations and continues to grow. WHY?
We also know that stimulating our brain will keep it, and us, healthier as we age, and will make our longer lives more meaningful and enjoyable, and that physical exercise as well as mental exercise is part of the equation. Yet another good reason to exercise regularly.
So reading articles like this and keeping abreast of continuing research into our most complex and amazing organ, the thing that sets us apart from all other life forms on the planet, will be beneficial to us personally.
I intend to keep you updated regularly on this.
According to Altzheimers.org the cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patience in the US will be $226 Billion in 2016 and
1 in 3 Older people die with Alzheimer’s or a similar disease. You don’t have to be one of them.
Do everything you can to preserve your brain health right now because there is a good chance that longevity medicine and genetic science could solve this in the not to distant future. So make sure you are in the best possible shape to benefit when that happens.
Click link to read Dr Mercola’s article and two short videos