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April 15, 2015

The Importance of Physical Activity for Brain Health

The Importance of Physical Activity for Brain Health

Most of us are aware of the benefits that exercise provide to our bodies. But what about our minds? Does physical activity make our brains healthier?

Research says the answer is an overwhelming “Yes!” In one study involving more than 600 people in Scotland, researchers discovered that people in their 70s who participated in physical exercise had less brain shrinkage than those were more sedentary. They also had fewer signs of aging in the brain overall, including better brain circuitry connections. And while researchers didn’t go so far as to say mentally and socially stimulating activities like playing chess or learning a new language aren’t good for the brain, they did say that these activities had no effect on brain shrinkage.

Not only does exercise keep your brain from shrinking, it may help ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s and other dementias. According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, physical exercise reduces your risk of developing the disease by 50 percent, a finding that John Medina, an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine, agrees with. He claims that aerobic exercise can cut your risk of Alzheimer’s in half.

And for those who think they simply don’t have enough time in the day to exercise, we have some good news and bad news for you. The good news is that even moderate exercise can provide amazing benefits. In a study done by the University of Georgia, researchers discovered that even brief workouts – as little as 20 minutes a day – improve memory. In another study of seniors, those who reported that they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week, reduced their risk of vascular-related dementia by 40 percent and cognitive impairment due to any reason by 60 percent. The bad news? You no longer have a reason to put off exercising.

So, get moving! Your mind will thank you for it.

Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2015, IlluminAge.   


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