People often consider walking and running to be activities that the body is able to perform on autopilot. But research carried out over the past decade by us and others would indicate that this is wrong. In fact, this link between physical activity and brain health may trace back millions of years to the origin of hallmark traits of humankind. Exercise stimulates brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in a wide array of important cortical areas of the brain.
Many studies have shown that exercise also has beneficial effects on human brains, especially as we age, and may even help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. And, if somehow you feel that you have something wrong going on, don’t hesitate to have a NeuroQuant test. NeuroQuant is a brain MRI analysis software that improves diagnosis and treatment and therapy of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. After the test, the NeuroQuant report may give patients with mild cognitive impairment an early warning of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tips for Choosing The Right Physical Exercise
Whatever is good for your heart is better for your brain. Aerobic exercise is great for the body and the brain: it not only enhances brain function, but it also works on damaged brain cells as a “first aid kit.”
Exercising in the morning before going to work not only increases brain activity and prepares you for mental stress for the rest of the day but also allows improved processing of new information and stronger response to complex situations.
Between three sets of people— individuals who lost weight through restrictive eating, people who lost weight through exercise and a group who used a combination of the two only those groups who had exercised as part of their weight loss regimen noted an improvement in cognition.
Focusing on the type of exercise you do is most important when your goal is to optimize your cognitive wellbeing. A multi-component routine focused on balance, flexibility and aerobic fitness are better than just one type of exercise being focused on.
Exercise’s Lasting Effects on Cognition
Exercise gives hope to those with a rare genetic mutation preparing them for Alzheimer’s early-onset disease. Although exercise can not fully overcome their genetic predisposition, people who were exercising for at least 150 minutes a week had better cognitive results compared to those who did not. Exercise could possibly prolong their onset of dementia by up to 15 years.
Interestingly, being obese may actually cause changes to the memory-associated genes in the brain, influencing memory negatively. Obesity can also give rise to insulin resistance and inflammation which can have a negative effect on the brain.
Meditation is not just good for your body, but it is good for your brain as well. Research suggests that meditation will increase gray matter in the brain and enhance the working spatial memory.
Increased memory performance has been associated with the practice of mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is also associated with a reduced cognitive decline in relation to age.
Games that challenge your brain can help reinforce your memory and reduce the risk of dementia as well.
Exercise brings amazing benefits to your entire body including your brain. Even moderate exercise has been shown to improve cognitive performance across all age groups including memory for short periods of time.