Healthy Aging - Brain Health!

Part 3 of Healthy Aging Series - Support Your Brain!

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A healthy brain is the cornerstone of a healthy life. Keeping your brain working at peak performance as you age is very important to maximize your quality of life. The phrase "What you don't use, you lose" fits perfectly with the aging brain. 

As we age, the amount of time that we challenge our brain decreases. We are no longer required to complete quizzes and tests like in our school days, and for some, no longer required to complete complex tasks at a regular day job. It is essential that you find something you enjoy that keeps your brain sharp in order to keep it healthy! Try out the daily sudoko, get together with friends for some social stimulation, dive into the newest documentary series or maybe even read a good blog post once in a while (*cough* *cough*). It is essential that you also enjoy the activity so that it does not seem like a chore every day. 

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Interestingly, our healthy aging tip about regular exercise is on a crash course with our advice on keeping your brain healthy. There has been recent research done locally that states that exercise is not only necessary for good physical health, but could also have a huge impact on your brain! 

Dr. Heisz, Assistant Professor in the department of Kinesiology at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON), was the lead researcher on an interesting study linking exercise and Dementia.  

I have summarized some of the most noteworthy points for all you busy people out there:

  • "In a study of more than 1,600 adults aged 65 and older, those who led a sedentary life seemed to have the same risk of developing dementia as those who carried the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene mutation, which increases the chances of developing dementia."
  • "Conversely, people who exercised appeared to have lower odds of developing dementia than those who didn’t"
  • “Being inactive may completely negate the protective effects of a healthy set of genes,” said lead researcher Jennifer Heisz

Read the full story below: 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/lack-of-exercise-might-invite-dementia/

 

There is also evidence to say that physical activity (as little as 20 minutes!!) can improve information processing and memory function. Exercise stimulates the growth of new connections in the brain which has multiple positive effects such as improved learning, improved memory and many other benefits. 

For more information, visit the link below: 

https://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/everyday-brain-fitness/physical-exercise

 

Long story short, whether it's 20 minutes or 2 hours, any amount of exercise is good for not only your physical health but also your brain health! Get out there, try something new! (Your brain will thank you!!) 

 

Courtney Postma, PT Resident 

 

 

 

Courtney Postma