It is a fact. Physical fitness reduces the risk of various illnesses, warding off everything from diabetes to heart disease and even stroke. Hiring a personal trainer can help you lose weight and gain self-confidence. It not only lowers your blood pressure, but provides a pick-me-up unlike any other, vastly reducing the risk of depression.
Is it any surprise, then, that being fit can also help your brain?
The direct and indirect effects of exercise on cognitive function have been the basis for countless studies over the last decade, with varying results. However, the general consensus seems to be the following: those individuals who make exercise a regular part of their day-to-day life are able to process information quickly and more efficiently. Additionally, fitness has been proven to prevent age-related loss of brain tissue, staving off the effects of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Many reports have suggested that at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day can enhance memory and thinking skills as we age. Workouts that get the blood pumping – such as those on a treadmill or an elliptical machine – are believed to foster development of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is responsible for various aspects of memory and learning.
Some experts also believe that cardiovascular exercise and mental health are intertwined, and that benefits to the heart are, in fact, synonymous with benefits to the mind.
Additional brain-boosting benefits of regular exercise include:
- Increased blood flow to the brain, providing essentials such as glucose and oxygen
- Reduced insulin resistance and inflammation
- Stimulates the creation of new blood vessels and brain cells (neurogenesis)
- Improved focus, memory, and decision-making skills
The question remains whether physical fitness has a positive impact on the cognitive function of younger adults and children, though leading opinions suggest that it absolutely does. And the great news is – even if you are not currently physically active, it is never too late to start.
Now, that’s just good thinking.
For information on hiring a person trainer for exercising your body and mind, contact Fitness Together Ellicott City at (410) 750-2228.