Fitness and Lifestyle Coaching MN

Most of us know that physical exercise is good for our general health, but did you know that physical exercise is also good for your brain? If you think you’re going to get smarter sitting in front of your computer or watching television, think again. There is scientific evidence that a healthy human being is a human doing.

Finally, there’s a breakthrough method to delay aging, increase brain volume, and improve memory. It’s called… “Exercise.”

Memory Can Be Improved With Physical Activity

Science shows us that aerobic activity can improve mental processes such as planning, multitasking, focusing without getting distracted, and making and remembering associations (e.g., banking away the name and face of a new acquaintance or remembering where you left your keys). Mounting research suggests that regular sweat sessions can help keep your brain fit too.

Daily physical activity is one way to increase blood flow to your brain.

It has been proven that building your aerobic capacity (through aerobic activity like running or cycling) increases oxygen not only to your brain but to all your other organs.

Aerobic Exercise Improves Brain Power

The hippocampus is important to memory and shrinks in later adulthood if aerobic exercise is not used regularly

Wait, exercise!? Oh yeah. A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh shows that aerobic exercise training increases the size of the anterior hippocampus, leading to improvements in spatial memory. Spatial memory refers to our ability to store and access information. Around late adulthood (>60 yrs old), the hippocampus begins to shrink, leading to impaired memory and an increased risk for dementia. Exercise helps prevent such loss by slowing and even reversing the shrinkage.

As health care costs continue to skyrocket and the proportion of the population over 65 grows, researchers are looking for low-cost means to treat and prevent brain tissue loss associated with aging. The 120-person (ages 55-80) yearlong study provides evidence that aerobic exercise training can bolster hippocampus volume in late adulthood, thus improving spatial memory.

Hippocampus

Simply put, researchers discovered the exercise we should already be doing doubles as bodybuilding for the brain.

The researchers note that more studies are needed in order to understand how specific aspects of exercise influence brain physiology and function in humans, but there’s still plenty of evidence that physical activity can make you a better student, help you be more productive at work, and keep you sharp as a tack later in life.

Regular aerobic exercise can improve your memory, but logging some time on the treadmill may not be the only way to improve memory. Other studies suggest that good nutrition and lifestyle go hand in hand.  A diet low in calories and high in unsaturated fats can also be beneficial for memory performance.

Whether you want to shed that excess weight permanently, optimize your athletic performance for an upcoming event, control a health issue naturally, or just enjoy more energy and better health each day, your Personal Trainer will  help you launch an exercise program, move beyond stubborn plateaus, break out of fitness ruts and reenergize your workout. Along the way, they’ll challenge you, change your outlook and build your self image and confidence, with results that extend far beyond the mirror.

PMID: 21282661 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID: PMC3041121
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