As we get older we lose some of our capacity to do certain things – hear, see and remember. This decline can be an extreme worry for some with memory loss causing the greatest concern among most older adults. Aging adults have been told to continue exercising not only because it is a preventative means against age-related illnesses but now researchers have found that it is also a means of staying “mentally sharp” as well.
The Research Studies Relating Exercise With Being Mentally Sharp
Over time, research has shown the tremendous advantages that exercise has for the body. We feel more alive, are able to do more, have more energy, are more alert and our bodies respond better during recovery from illness. Overall, exercise is good for you and there is a reason why it is recommended that we participate in exercise at least three times per week.
In one particular study, sedentary adults between the ages of 57 and 75 were divided into two groups, one being the control group and the other the physical training group. The training group underwent aerobic exercises three times a week for an hour at a time for a period of twelve weeks. Their aerobic exercises were done on treadmills and stationary bikes. Before, during and after the twelve week period assessments of cognition, cardiovascular fitness and resting cerebral blood flow measurements were done. The study was led by Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth, Dee Wyly Distinguished University Chair, and the results?
This research shows the tremendous benefit of aerobic exercise on a person’s memory and demonstrates that aerobic exercise can reduce both the biological and cognitive consequences of aging.
The exercise group showed increases in memory performance and this study also showed that as memory improved so did the blood flow to the hippocampus of the brain. The hippocampus is the region in the brain that is affected by Alzheimer’s disease indicating that with exercise the effects of this particular ailment may be reduced.
Brain Games Can Help
It is well known that participating in games that stimulate the brain are very beneficial and the reason for this is that while exercise increases blood flow to specific areas of the brain, brain games or complex mental training stimulate blood flow to the whole brain. According to Dr Chapman, combining both physical and mental exercise should become a way of life.
The combination of physical and mental exercise may be the best health measures to improve overall cognitive brain health. We have just begun to test the upper boundaries of how we can enhance our brain’s performance into late life.
Keeping the brain healthy and strong as well as keeping the body healthy and strong will most certainly be beneficial to us no matter which way we look at it. Training from a young age is also more beneficial since the things we learn at a young age are carried with us throughout our lives. Exercise not only affects our bodies on a molecular level but on a behavioral one too. We feel better when we exercise and our bodies just seem to work better after we exercise. You can wake up feeling stiff in the morning with loads of aches and pains but after a session in the gym or participating in some form of exercise, your body feels looser and the aches virtually disappear. The proof is in the pudding and researchers have given us proof. Now it is up to you to put that proof into practice. A fit body and mind may help you keep old age at bay.