How Exercise Affects The Brain

illuminated brain

Is there anything that exercise doesn’t positively affect in our bodies?

It seems like researchers keep discovering new ways that exercise affects, and helps, our bodies.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer’s Research Center recently looked into whether exercise can reduce the chances for dementia as we age.

As we age, part of our brain, the hippocampus, shrinks. This leads to impaired memory and increased risk for dementia. The hippocampus is larger in fit adults. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh decided to look into how much physical activity can prevent hippocampus shrinkage in late adulthood.

In this study, the researchers used a randomized, controlled trial with 120 older adults. They showed that aerobic training increases the size of the anterior hippocampus, leading to better memory. This effectively reversed age related loss of size of the hippocampus by 1 to 2 years.

These findings lead the researchers to conclude that “These theorectically important findings indicate that aerobic exercise training is effective at reversing hippocampal volume loss in late adulthood, which is accompanied by improving memory function.”

This goes along with other research that I wrote about a a few months ago suggesting that exercise positively affects our brains. As we exercise, more blood, and therefore oxygen, is flushed to our brains, helping us become more awake and aware. As we continue to exercise, human growth hormone is released in our brains. This hormone aids in the laying down of neurological pathways that become memories. So exercise actually helps you to remember things better.

There have been numerous studies done on school age children and the effects that sitting and exercising has on their cognitive functioning. It is amazing what a little physical activity can do to help a child sit down and focus, and remember things better.

This is all of what leads researchers to call exercise “miracle grow for the brain.”

It used to be thought that there was a separation between the mind and the body. Now researchers are showing us that there is a huge connection between the mind and the body. As the body goes, so will the mind.

Sure there are extreme cases of those to whom this won’t apply, like Dr. Stephen Hawking. But even with those people, chances are that their minds would function better if their bodies did.

So what does this information mean to you? This information means to you that if you can exercise in the morning, before going to sit in front of your computer all day, you will be more productive all day long. Studies show that after exercise you will be able to focus and concentrate better. You will have more blood and oxygen flowing to your brain so that you will be more awake and aware.

Plus if you exercise in the morning before going to work, it is hard to arrive at work in a bad mood.

If you are a student in college or graduate school, don’t sacrifice your physical fitness for your studies. You will be able to study more productively if you can stay active. If you are in class all day, then have to study all night, your studying will be more productive if you can squeeze in a half an hour of exercise in between school and studying.

I have worked on far too many young people who are 1 to 2 years out of graduate school and are in severe pain. This is because they spent 4 years in college hunched over a desk and computer, neglecting their bodies because of their studies. Then they may have spent another 2 to 6 years hunched over another desk and computer for graduate school, still eschewing exercise for studying. Then they enter into the workforce and have to spend 8 to 10 hours a day hunched over another desk and computer.

It is easy to see how the effects of sitting slowly can build up over time to cause injury and pain. As this is going on, you will have less blood flow and oxygen flow to the brain, which will decrease cognitive functioning and eventually compromise brain remodeling.

Exercise is proving to be more important than any of us ever thought before. With that in mind it is becoming more and more important to do something to keep yourself active and physically fit. You don’t have to spend an hour a day, five days a week pumping heavy iron in a gym. All it takes is 20 to 30 minutes 2 to 4 days a week.

If you know what you are doing, then incorporating exercise into your busy lifestyle will not be hard. You don’t have to go crazy with exercise, you just have to be consistent with it to get a benefit from it. Exercise at a moderate level so that you can keep it up for years to come. Choose something that you like to do, or at least don’t hate to do. That way you’ll have a better chance of sticking with it.

Pain Free Lifestyle is set up to take you from not exercising at all to getting into shape, increasing activity, and feeling better. Pain Free Lifestyle is not a get thin quick scheme. It does not focus on gimmicks like getting 6 pack abs or losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks. Pain Free Lifestyle doesn’t insult you with misleading and false advertising.

Pain Free Lifestyle makes no false claims. It focuses on easy on the body, good for you exercises that will allow you to get your life back. It will allow you to become more active, to reduce pain, and allow you to enjoy life. You may not get ripped, lean 6 pack abs with Pain Free Lifestyle, but chances are, you wouldn’t get them with any of the gimmicky lose weight quick schemes anyways.

Join the Pain Free Revolution.

Exercise smarter, not harder.

Low impact, low intensity, sustainable exercising is the Pain Free Way.

Here are 2 other articles that I wrote concerning the connection between brain health and physical fitness:

Exercising and Brain Health

The Effects Of Exercise On The Brain



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