Exercise and Aging Minds
I recently put together a new class titled “What’s so Fun & Funny about Aging? A Holistic Perspective.” It’s a look at some common myths about aging and offers some empowering strategies that can be used to make the process more enjoyable and healthier. One of the major concerns we face as we age is that of declining memory and what we can do to prevent an even more serious memory disorder – Alzheimer’s Disease.
In his best-selling book “Grain Brain” neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter gives us many tips on improving brain health and preventing diseases of the brain and other organs of the body. Many of these tips involve dietary recommendations which will be the subject of another blog here. But he also talks about the importance of exercise in promoting improved memory and cognition.
Exercise, in addition to helping lower your blood sugar which is crucial to brain health, also reduces free radical production and inflammation, both of which fuel chronic disease. In addition, exercise causes a brain growth hormone to “turn on”, resulting in the growth of new brain cells – a process called “neurogenesis.” It wasn’t that long ago that we were taught that brain cells don’t regenerate – once they were gone, we were stuck with a diminished supply for life. The new science is both exciting and empowering, allowing us to alter our lifestyles for improved physical and mental health as well as improved memory!
Spring is finally arriving, a perfect time to get outdoors and start a walking program. But exercise can’t be weather dependent. Find something you enJOY (recalling that infusion of joy into your life is also health affirming). Engage in enjoyable exercise that can be done year round, knowing that exercise is just as important as nourishing your body with good food every day. Exercise can be considered part of our all-important “self-care” that we recognize as a top priority to ensure a healthier body-mind-spirit. We do not have to become victims of disease when we empower ourselves with knowledge and courageously alter our lifestyles! We don’t have time not to.
Many happy trails and memories to all!