Why Getting Fit Is Good For The Brain
Improving blood flow to the brain and heart with consistent cross training can aid memory, improve focus; all the while helping you achieve or maintain a healthy body weight.
Your heart pumps blood through vessels to every part of your body, including your brain. Damage to blood vessels can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and dementia. Keeping your blood vessels healthy will help you have a strong heart… and a sharp brain too.
When you reach the right level of exercise intensity, it’s easy to feel the exertion. Breathing quickens, you feel the burn in your muscles and your skin perspires. Here’s what’s going on in your head at the same time: all that extra blood flow bathes your brain cells in oxygen and glucose, which they need to function. The more they get, the better they perform and the healthier they remain.
Exercise Activates Your Brain Cells
While some health conditions (like obesity) and unhealthy habits (like smoking) can damage your blood vessels, putting your heart and your brain at risk for serious problems, getting older is the single biggest risk factor for memory loss and dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the number one cause of dementia, accounting for 70 percent of cases —and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the US. Researchers found that physical activity improves the microstructures of white matter in the brain. White matter integrity is linked to faster neural conduction between brain regions and superior cognitive performance.
Stay Slim and Centered With Regular Cardio
There is a very direct correlation between poor brain health and conditions such as diabetes, obesity, depression, stroke, inflammation, heart disease and hypertension – all of which affect blood flow to the brain and the resulting cognitive decline; according to the Harvard studies. Obesity and the diseases that go along with it, like diabetes and high blood pressure, damage the blood vessels that directly power your brain.
According to the Harvard Aging Brain studies, inadequate blood flow can damage and kill cells anywhere in the body. Since the brain requires a rich network of blood vessels, it is especially vulnerable. Previous studies have shown that exercise can increase the growth of new brain blood vessels and brain cells. This study supports the message that exercise can contribute to brain health, with consistency being key.
Exercise studies have also examined the “feel-good” brain chemicals dopamine, which affects learning and attention; and norepinephrine, which influences attention, perception and arousal.
This exercise-induced chemical cocktail has a powerful mood-elevating impact on your senses and your attitude. Elevating neurotransmitters in the brain helps you focus, feel better, and releases tension, according to brain disorder specialist, Daniel G. Amen, MD, founder of eight Amen Clinics For Brain Disorders, located around the country.
Being Overweight Damages Your Brain
Maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels all lower your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms, “What’s good for your heart is nearly always good for your brain,” Dr. Amen says.
The more you exercise, the healthier your blood vessels and blood flow will be. This leads to overall improved brain function and better memory, says Dr. Amen, author of the NY Times best-seller “Memory Rescue” 2017.
Make sure to combine aerobic exercise four to five times per week with weight training two to three times per week. Research shows the more fit you are as you age, the less likely you are to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to sculpting a sexy waistline, consistent cross training throughout the week can also help:
Lower your blood pressure
Improve mood and stress levels
Clear brain fog during the day
Reduce risk of obesity and diabetes
Lower bad cholesterol
Kaiser Permanente health studies followed and evaluated close to 10,000 people for 30 years and found that being overweight or obese in midlife is directly associated with memory problems and dementia in later life, especially for women.
Memories, are coded into brain cells in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center. If memories are not etched into those cells initially, they may not be available for later, long-term preservation, according to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Moderate physical activity was associated with healthier (greater levels of) glucose metabolism in all brain regions analyzed. This allows for more complete transfer of those short-term memories into long-term storage.
Aim for Moderate Exercise Every Day
Researchers noted a step-wise benefit: Subjects who spent at least 68 minutes per day engaged in moderate physical activity (walking, biking, weight training) showed better glucose metabolism profiles than those who spent less time.
5 Smart Ways to Strengthen Brain Power
- Stop smoking cigarettes
- Eat berries and other brain-healthy nutrients
- Sleep for 7-9 hours a night
- Drink 8-10 cups of water or tea daily
- Get the benefits of natural sunlight and vitamin D
Exercise to release good-mood brain endorphins and to feel more energized. Remember to exercise and exercise to remember!
Maintain your strength training workouts at home or in the gym as you explore all your brain-boosting fitness options. Increase your strength, stamina, power and balance with total body exercises like training on an elliptical machine or the new and innovative Cardio Gym CG6. Stay tuned to Premier Fitness Source for our exercise equipment discounts and exciting commercial offerings in cardio cross-training workouts.