*Exercise can cut Your Risk of Alzheimer’s in half – According to a New Study.
Half of Americans believe that games like Crosswords, Chess, Computer Games and other mental tasks keep their brains healthy, according to a 2014 AARP survey — but there is little evidence that they do. If you really want to build cognitive fitness, retain mental clarity and decrease your odds of dementia, hit the gym and get fit, according to the latest research.
It has only been discovered in the last 10 years or so, that there is a critical relationship between physical exercise and brain fitness, although to most people that maintain a regular exercise program, this comes as no surprise. Exercise helps you rebuild your muscles, keeping a strong, flexible youthful body. It also increases your mental abilities, enhances the formation of new neurons and keeps stress low.
Studies often suggest that people who participate in a regular exercise program and remain physically active “have lower occurrences of Alzheimer’s and various other age-related neurodegenerative disorders,” says Arthur F. Kramer, senior vice provost for research and graduate education at Northeastern University in Boston who is an expert on exercise and the brain.
Maintaining a bigger and younger brain?
As we begin to age, an area of our brains that is key to memory; the hippocampus starts to shrink, and this leads to memory problems and the possibility of dementia. Research has shown that Men and Women between the ages of 50 to 80 walked for 40 minutes a day 3x per week for a period of 6 months, the hippocampus portion of the brain actually increased in size. Adversely; a control group that didn’t walk at all, actually ended up having a smaller hippocampus than they did when they started.
Another study of almost 900 Men and Women with averaging 71 years old; showed that people who had exercised at least moderately or vigorously for a period of over five years — jogging, hiking, swimming, dancing — functioned on the same level with someone a decade younger on tests of memory and other brain skills.
Studies support the predominant theory that heart health and brain health are definitely interrelated. Adhering to a regular exercise program helps to prevent high blood pressure and keeping blood vessels healthy and flexible which will ensures an optimal flow of blood to the brain. Additionally, aerobic exercise produces higher levels of a protein known as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF helps repair and protect the brain, according to Marilyn Albert, director of the division of cognitive neuroscience at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Experts agree – Exercise for the Brain!
Experts from around the world The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), recommend the following for improved Brain Health and Cognitive Fitness for older adults:
1) Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
2) Participate in a strength training program two or more times a week.
3) Lead a physically active lifestyle.
4) To stay motivated and committed, consider working with a personal trainer.