Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How Exercise is Good for the Body, the Brain and the Heart

Run on the beach or walk briskly through the mall ... 

People who don't exercise regularly will experience a decline in their cognitive abilities as they age.  We all realize that exercise is good for our hearts, our bones, our lungs and so on, but how does it affect our brains?

No doubt you've heard people complain that they take the stairs to go somewhere and then forget why they were going there.  That is rather scarey when it happens to you, but it can be explained away by the fact that you were distracted with other thoughts.

However, a recent study at the Montreal Heart Institute, revealed why you should be more motivated to exercise, namely to protect your brain.*  The study showed that a group of middle-aged, sedentary, overweight adults could, over a period of just a few months, significantly improve standard measures of cognition including the ability to think clearly, recall and make quick decisions.

It's even more encouraging to know that they also lost weight, shrunk their waist size, became more flexible, and dramatically improved their endurance.

The conclusion is that cognition decline is largely a blood vessel problem.  The brain is loaded with blood vessels and if you make those healthier with exercise, you reduce the risk of decline.

So, call a friend and go for a scheduled walk or run every day.  Depending on the weather, you could also choose to ski, cycle or swim.  A gym may also be located nearby, so make good use of it.

Deanna and Dave Waters
Committed to Healthy Lifestyles for a Better Life
Join our team to create satisfying and healthy choices.

*  The Globe and Mail, Monday, October 29, 2012

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