PHYSICAL FITNESS AND BETTER BRAIN FUNCTION.

 


You may have heard the mantra that physical activity improves physical fitness. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and even add years to your life. However, what you might not have realized is that with every step taken, every mile pedaled, or every lap swam around the pool, your cognitive fitness is also being enhanced.
“We know that physical exercise, and aerobic exercise in particular, is very beneficial for maintaining brain health, even in people who are at risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” says neuropsychologist Aaron Bonner-Jackson, PHD. “You can make a major difference in terms of how your body is functioning and, as a result, how your brain is functioning.”So, to preserve your cognitive health, your best bet is to work out your body and your mind through regular exercise.


Get moving for your brain

Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even
the abundance and survival of new brain cells.

Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety.
Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.

In a recent study, 454 older adults underwent yearly physical exams and cognitive tests for 20 years and agreed to donate their brains for research when they died. The participants were given accelerometers, which tracked their movement and physical activity around the clock.
Those who moved more scored better on the memory and thinking tests, and every increase in physical activity by one standard deviation was associated with a 31% lower risk of dementia, the researchers reported. The association between physical activity
and cognitive function remained consistent even after the study authors accounted for the participants’ brain pathology and whether or not they had dementia, according to the study.

In another recent study, 160 sedentary older people with mild cognitive impairment were assigned to take part in several options.

They could do aerobic exercise (three times a week for 45 minutes per session), eat a heart-healthy Dietary Approaches to Stop
Hypertension (DASH) diet, combine aerobic exercise with the DASH diet, or receive health education.

During the six-month study, those who followed the DASH diet alone did not improve on assessments of executive function (responsible for tasks like planning, problem-solving and multitasking), while the health-education group’s function worsened, according to the study.

However, those who exercised showed improvements in thinking and memory, and those who combined exercise and the DASH diet improved even more, the researchers reported.
These findings come at a critical time. Researchers say one new case of dementia is
detected every four seconds globally.

They estimate that by the year 2050, more than 115 million people will have dementia worldwide. In general, even in people who are at risk of development of Alzheimer’s or other dementias, exercise can stave off decline in some cases for many years and help people function better.


Put it to the test

Jogging

So what should you do? Start exercising! We don’t know exactly which exercise is best.
Almost all of the research has looked at walking, including the latest study. “It’s likely
that other forms of aerobic exercise that get your heart pumping might yield similar
benefits,” says Dr. McGinnis.

How much exercise is required to improve memory? Aim for 150 mins of moderate-intensity activity such as walking, every week. If that seems daunting, start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal.
If you don’t want to walk, consider other moderate-intensity exercises, such as swimming, stair climbing, tennis, squash, or dancing. Don’t forget that household activities can count as well, such as intense floor mopping, raking leaves, or anything
that gets your heart pumping so much that you break out in a light sweat.


Don’t have the discipline to do it on your own? Try any or all of these ideas:

 Join a class or work out with a friend who’ll hold you accountable.
 Track your progress, which encourages you to reach a goal.
 If you’re able, hire a personal trainer.

Whatever exercise and motivators you choose, commit to establishing exercise as 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.

I certainly do hope this article was helpful to you, I would love to hear your comments and  your questions, would love to answer those questions.

 

Earl

27 thoughts on “PHYSICAL FITNESS AND BETTER BRAIN FUNCTION.”

  1. This was a very interesting and useful article on the relationship between physical fitness and having a more effective brain function. I know that in all the years of maintaining my state of fitness through a regular exercise regimen, it has made a huge and positive difference in brain function as well.

    I can feel the difference after a short period when I am not able to get my regular exercise routine for one reason or another. I am a bit more sluggish, and not at the top of my game. The suggestions you offer at the end of the article are good for those that may not be addressing this concern. I enjoyed the read, thanks!

    Reply
  2. I think if more people were taught to see exercise as a medicine then we’d all be a lot healthier. When you put it that way It makes it seem less like an annoying and tedious task and more like something of value. I’m going to try to keep that in mind as I work towards exercising more.

    Reply
  3. Hey, I enjoy a lot while reading your guide and found it very helpful for everyone. Physical activity improves physical fitness.  Your ideas are very much powerful for everyone like me. I am much aware about my physical fitness. I do excercise on daily basis. Hope your post helped many members to setup their time table for fitness also. Your guide is very useful for everyone to live an awesome life & improve their brain function.

    Reply
  4. This is really cool. I’ve struggled with physical fitness and maintaining an healthy weight my entire life. It’s just been really hard for me to stick and stay consistent with a workout routine and diet. But since the start of 2020, I have been loyal to going to the gym three times per week and sticking to my diet. This the longest I have ever lasted on my health journey and I look, feel, and think so much better than I did a month ago. My thinking is not so negative anymore and I have more confidence in myself right now than I ever did. The transformation is difficult, but I am in love with the success that I am having. Great article, very helpful and definitely going to share it on my Facebook page.

    Reply
  5. Hey, I enjoy a lot while reading your awesome guide on Physical fitness and find it very useful for everyone. While reading I know that exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and even add years to your life. Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. Thanks for your awesome guide to import our brain health.

    Reply
  6. I started working out over 3 years ago for some health issues and because of that same issue it was hard for me to actually finish a whole workout routine. After two years I finally found the right fit for me and I could not be happier. You stated that physical exercise also helps insulin resistance, how so?

    Reply
    •  Obesity is big factor in the development of both insulin resistance and diabetes, by exercising your body utilize more glucose, So with less glucose in the blood, your body will actually be able to use the insulin effectively. 

      It’s been shown that even just a 45 minute walk 2-3 times a week can make a significant difference in your insulin resistance.

      Hope that answer you question, thanks for asking.

      Reply
  7. Hey, 

    I really enjoyed reading this post! I really liked the bright blue headlines and the interesting pictures you used. I also like that you broke exercising down in a simple way and said to just start moving. It was a motivational post and well put. The ideas you mentioned to get someone started were simple and achievable. Your post made me want to be on top of my game in my fitness journey. 

    Reply
  8. I was quite alarmed to read that subjects in the study that took part in the physical education task actually had their cognitive function worsen! That aside you have shown that a healthy diet as a standalone without the physical exercise won’t help as much as the combination. Thanks for a well-written analysis Earl.

    Reply
  9. Our brain needs exercise to function more and there are couple of activities that can make this possible..

    you gave three major engagements that can help. these are :

    Join a class or work out with a friend who’ll hold you accountable.
    Track your progress, which encourages you to reach a goal.
    If you’re able, hire a personal trainer.

    some games will help. i try games like chess. thank you

    Reply
  10. physical fitness is key to a very easy life. there are so many benefits to working out and sleeping well is one of them. the improvement of the brain is more important and exercise does its job well to ensure that. some times i also exercise my brain with some puzzles

    Reply
  11. Working on your fitness level is very important to the human body and sling the line it’s sure that the brain will grow while you are at it. Some times we do not know the benefits of these things as well as things to take to make help your mental health as well as help your fitness level. It’s really nice of you to share this article with us

    Reply
  12. The benefits of what you shared here today us immense. For a start, I really think this would make the difference for us. Most importantly, the fact that the way that physical fitness helps us is just way immense and well valued here too. Thank you for helounf to clarify this here. Thumbs up to you

    Reply
  13. Hi, 

    From my research physical fitness can reduce the risk of dementia, relieve depressive symptoms, and more, exercise stimulates the brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in a wide array of important cortical areas of the brain. Recent research from UCLA demonstrated that exercise increased growth factors in the brain making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.

    Thank you.

    Aluko.

    Reply
  14. I believe that exercise is good for the brain because once we move our heart gets pumping and the blood will be circulating the brain. Everything is connected in our bodies 🙂 What I usually do for my exercise is that I try to move or walk as much as I can. So instead of using my car, I use my bike or even walk there. It is more enjoyable and I do not feel that I am working out. However, my friends see a great result with trainer because they drill her to come out and work out lol. 

    Reply
  15. This is very interesting to see that the 6 month study has once again confirmed that exercise, combined with following a health heart diet, can improve thinking and memory. I certainly feel better when I have done some exercise. I love walking, so it is great to see that it is one of the best ways that you have suggested. Great tips at the end to do it with a friend or in a group, or to track your own progress.

    Reply

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