The times in my life where I couldn’t exercise, I felt like I was going crazy. When I’ve been bedridden with a cold or recovering from surgery, I’ve felt anxious and annoyed that I couldn’t train, or go for a walk or even stretch everything out. I felt a little helpless.
My obvious whining aside, the reason for me feeling this way was because my body was used to exercise and my brain craved the adrenalin!
Exercise is excellent for the health of our brain, as well as the rest of the body. Our brains structurally decline with age, beginning in our 30’s. By the time we hit our 60’s, parts of the brain shrink in size between 1% and 2% a year.
But there is good news!
Studies show that a group of 60-year-olds not only put the brakes on their cognitive decline with 6 months of exercise – they actually reversed it! And it was found that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease can be reduced up to an incredible 50% when we make regular exercise a part of our routine.
So how does exercise actually produce these amazing statistics?
The brain’s cerebellum, which is located above the spinal column, is responsible for coordinating and controlling our body movements. When we perform exercises that require intricate body position adjustments we improve plasticity and brain function in this area.
In this respect, free weight and machine exercises are more effective than runs or walks, for example – but don’t ditch the cardio just yet! Easy-going cardio is a great way for older adults to improve their breathing, strength and overall fitness. Plus, it’s so easy to do!
So, no matter what type of workout you’re doing, or whether you’re currently limited in how you can workout, remind yourself to take a breath, be patient, keep maneuvering around your setbacks and incorporating exercise in any way you can. Your brain (and your mood) will benefit!
For more info on the types of workouts that will benefit you, visit us here