If someone could offer you a fix that could help you improve your brain health, increase memory, cut your risk of developing Alzheimers or dementia, prevent stroke, or improve symptoms from Parkinson’s Disease, would you take it? According to studies done by doctors around the country, including the Cooper Instutute in Dallas, TX and the University of Washington School of Medicine, enough moderate to vigorous exercise each day (depending on your ability and approval from your doctor) can greatly increase your brain health and provide life improving, and saving, benefits.
Some scientists believe that exercising increases the flow of blood to the brain, increasing the release of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is responsible for helping to stimulate and form new neurons in the hippocampus. This is essential because much of your memory, learning, and decision making is performed in the hippocampus.
In most people over the age of 40, the hippocampus shrinks by 0.5% each year. However, a study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showed that seniors aged 60-79 who participated in a 6-month study where they walked briskly daily not only maintained the size of their hippocampus, but actually increased the size of their hippocampus to levels comparable with peers 2 years younger. Subjects enjoyed these benefits despite their level of prior fitness.
Aside from improving memory, regular activity can also reduce your risk of stroke by improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure, and even preventing diabetes. While health experts recommend 150 minutes of exercise a week, any exercise, no matter what level of fitness you are at, can improve overall brain health.
Tips For Starting or Improving an Exercise Routine:
Connect with a Friend- Exercising with a friend can help you stay consistent with your exercise.
Dress for Success- Put on workout clothes first thing in the morning or immediately after work to remind you to get moving.
Find an Activity You Love- Chances are you’ll stick to an exercise routine you enjoy.
Tune In- Treat yourself to some great workout songs. Studies have shown that people who workout with music exercise harder and longer.
Start off Easy- Don’t overdo it right off the bat. Easing into a workout routine is better than hurting yourself early and stalling regular workouts.
Exercise is not only important for brain health, but it’s important for allover health which, in turn, is directly connected to your brain and mental health. At Dr. Duma’s Newport Beach Neurosurgery office, our goal is to help patients maintain healthy brains and to treat any additional brain illnesses through innovative procedures. If you would like to know more about surgeries provided by Dr. Duma, contact our Orange County brain surgery center by phone at 949-642-6787 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.