memory1It seems that regular consistent physical exercise increases the volume of regions of the brain that are important for thinking and memory.

A study published in Neurology showed that adults in their seventies that exercised the most experienced the least brain shrinkage with less white matter brain lesions that are signs of dementia. Additionally, another recent study revealed that older adults that exercised regularly reduced their risk of vascular-related dementia by 40%. That’s significant.

If losing weight, lowering your blood pressure or preventing disease and depression are not enough to get you motivated to exercise then the fact that 1 new case of dementia is detected every 4 seconds will do the trick. You can avoid the brain fog that comes with age but don’t wait till it begins to show up…give your brain what it needs to stay healthy now.

Studies suggest that people who exercise versus those who don’t have greater volume in the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the medial temporal cortex and prefrontal cortex). A neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and instructor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Scott McGinnis, went on to say that “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions.”

Exercise reduces insulin resistance and inflammation and stimulates the release of growth factors…chemicals that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of blood vessels in the brain and the survival of new brain cells. Physical activity that engages hand-eye coordination or complex motor skills are particularly beneficial for brain building.

Because of the increased heart rate when you exercise, more oxygen get pumped to the brain, so physical exercise not only gets the body in shape but it helps to firm and tone up the mind, it stimulates the growth of new neuronal connections in the brain. It also releases an army of hormones that all aid in providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.

Exercising your body isn’t hard, simply adopt a challenging and fun exercise program that you can perform a few times weekly for 20-30 minutes at a time is all it takes. But you must be consistent and dedicated to get results.

Both physical and mental activity require active sessions and down times when your body and mind are “regrouping.” Life can be a struggle if you have not built your “mind muscle” and like all muscles it requires rest in between challenges.

For example, when exercising your muscles, you must allow for rest periods between your exercise routines to allow your muscles to regroup. The down time is as important as the active time. Same is true with your mind. You must find appropriate exercises such as meditation that give your mind “rest” in between active participation in life.

Maintaining a calm attitude and mental state when everything around screams disaster is a form of mental mastery. But only those who have developed their mental muscle will show mental mastery when the time comes.

When you are hyper or nervous you can’t think straight. Your mind literally gets foggy and this impacts your personal, social and business health as well as the health of your body.

Being calm allows you to mentally tune into what is happening around you both internally and externally and to act rather than “react.”

But, just like your bodies physical muscles, brain muscles don’t develop overnight. So, don’t expect to find yourself calm in a challenging mental situation if you have not done the needed work ahead of time.

Challenge your body with physical exercise and it gets stronger but the added benefit is that your mind does too.

Exhibiting a strong memory and staying mentally sharp depends on the health and vitality of your brain. Exercise has proven to improve long term memory, reasoning, abstract thinking, problem solving and a whole lot more. So, what are you waiting for?

Isn’t it time you “Reclaimed Your Longevity”…