Exercise to Improve Memory

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.” John Adams

 

Studies have shown that exercise as simple as a brisk walk everyday can do more for your brain than solving a puzzle, math equation or even a riddle.
I love the book, Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter. I highly recommend this great read because he talks a lot about managing a healthy life by exercising, eating a balanced diet and removing inflammatory foods. Below is a great quote from his book:
“Aerobic exercise not only helps us become more fit but targets the gene that codes for BDNF (the brains growth hormone).” Exercise has been shown to reverse memory decline in elderly (dementia) and increase growth of new brain cells in the memory center of the brain.” 
Only in the past decade have researchers been able to relate similar benefits between physical fitness and mental fitness. As a nation, we are in dire need of HABITS that help us make healthier choices.
According to researchers, exercise appears to ‘build’ a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhances cognitive flexibility.
Most of us know that the availability of most daily tasks require less movements, but with the research and prevalence of disease we need to take action.
In regards to BDNF hormone production, a 2011 group of scientists at the University of Illinois put together two groups (120 older men and women) to test their theory on exercise and longevity of our brains:
1. A walking group
2. Stretch group
The ‘walking group’ succeeded over the stretching group for levels of BDNF in their blood stream. The ‘stretchers’, on the other hand, lost brain volume to normal atrophy and didn’t perform well on cognitive tests.
What scientists found was that BDNF strengthens the cells and connections with axons (basically helping you learn new things faster) in our brains.
Take the time to keep moving and Challenge your body with not only stretching, but strength and cardiovascular activity. Find things that are fun and engaging because we are more apt to stick with the particular activity if we enjoy it. Also, research shows that we are 70% more likely to succeed when we share our goals and participate with others.

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Resources:
C.w cotman,et al., “Exercise builds brain health: key rolls of growth factor Cascades and inflammation,” trends in neuroscience 30, no. 9 (September 2007).
L.F. defina, et al., ” The assoc. Between midlife cardiorespiratory fitness levels and later-life dementia: a cohort study,’ annals of internal medicine 158, no. 3 (February 5, 2013): 162-68.