Yes, we all know that regular daily exercise is an important role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. But did you know that it is just as important for the health of your brain?
Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells, and thereby protect against those risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Growing evidence shows that physical exercise does not have to be strenuous or even require a major time commitment. It is most effective when done regularly, and in combination with a brain-healthy diet, mental activity and social interaction. A long walk with a friend!
Aerobic exercise improves oxygen consumption, which benefits brain function; aerobic fitness has been found to reduce brain cell loss in the elderly. Walking, bicycling, gardening, tai chi, yoga and other activities of about 30 minutes daily get the body moving and the heart pumping.
Physical activities that also involve mental activity – plotting your route, observing traffic signals, making choices – provide additional value for brain health. And doing these activities with a companion offers the added benefit of social interaction.
Benefits of Exercise Include:
Better quality of sleep
Increased immunity to viruses and infections
Building muscles that assists joints
Improved brain functionality
Check with your doctor prior to starting any physical activity and gradually build your stamina day by day. Remember to drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated when exercising. Take advantage of the fresh air, and get outside if you can for a nice walk, or gardening. Or join your local gym or YMCA for strength training, group fitness classes, or swimming. Whatever your interest – but make sure you keep it fun!
Remember, exercise equals a strong heart and a sharp mind! Be well. Enjoy!
Source: Alzheimer’s Association