Just the Weigh You Are

Exercise


When you think of gyms, personal trainers, and fitness classes, what do you think of? Most people associate pursuits of fitness with a desire to lose weight.

When it comes to caring for your brain, there’s one important thing to remember about exercise: it’s not about losing weight (although keeping a healthy weight benefits your brain also).

Exercise cares for your brain by getting your blood flowing. Blood circulation to the brain invigorates it with fresh oxygen and nutrients that keep your cognitive skills at their best. A number of studies have found that physically active people are less likely to experience dementia.

In one small study of 190 people 50 years old and older, participants were asked to exercise for 150 minutes a week, broken down into 3 sessions of 50 minutes each. Walking was the most commonly chosen activity. Exercise was found to have a protective effect on cognition up to 18 months after the study ended. Another larger study of 1740 people 65 years of age and older followed people for 6 years and found that people who exercised three times a week or more significantly reduced their risk for cognitive decline.

So, even if you’re at your goal weight or not concerned about losing weight, incorporating exercise into your weekly routine has the potential to care for your brain. As an added bonus, you’ll be caring for your heart at the same time by benefiting your blood pressure and cholesterol.

References

  • Larson, E. B., Wang, L. I., Bowen, J. D., McCormick, W. C., Teri, L., Crane, P., & Kukull, W. (2006). Exercise is associated with reduced risk for incident dementia among persons 65 years of age and older. Annals of internal medicine, 144(2), 73-81.
  • Lautenschlager, N. T., Cox, K. L., Flicker, L., Foster, J. K., Van Bockxmeer, F. M., Xiao, J., ... & Almeida, O. P. (2008). Effect of physical activity on cognitive function in older adults at risk for Alzheimer disease: a randomized trial. Jama, 300(9), 1027-1037.