Ever since elementary school health and Physical Education class, it has been hammered into our thinking the physical benefits our bodies receive from exercise. Staying in shape, more energy, a better immune system, anyone could add to the list in order to keep it going. People are often unaware that exercising on a regular basis also provides benefits to us mentally as well. This is especially true for those approaching middle age and the elderly.
The Impact of Exercise on the Brain:
A study was completed at the University of British Colombia, which gave results showing aerobic exercise as part of a regular routine, appears to increase the size of the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain that is involved with both learning and verbal memory. It is important to note that these results were found with aerobic style exercising. Exercise used for toning muscle and resistance training did not produce the same effect.
There couldn’t have been a better time for the research to be completed. It is reported that a new case of dementia is found once every four seconds across the globe. It is estimated by 2050, there will be more than 115 million people who suffer from dementia worldwide.
Regular exercise will improve both thinking and memory by direct and indirect means. It will also improve the sleep routine and mental mood of an individual, which frequently contribute to impairments cognitively. Areas of the brain, which are used in order to control both memory and thinking have a larger volume among people who exercise on a regular basis versus people who don’t.
This leaves several people wondering just exactly how much exercise they should be getting in order to improve their thinking skills. While there isn’t exactly a certain routine or exercise schedule to follow, some of the best results from the research were obtained by people who simply walked at a brisk pace for one hour, two times a week. This can also be broken down to either half an hour, four times a week or even using just one afternoon to get around 150 minutes of moderate physical activity. Naturally, individuals who are younger can typically manage to exercise more often and longer, and therefore should strive to fit in at least 4 days of physical fitness a week.
If walking isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you could pick up a sport such as basketball, tennis, swimming, or even dancing. And for the elderly who may not be able to participate in high-intensity or contact sports, we would highly suggest that you check out SilverSneakers Fitness! Catered to senior citizens, this exclusive club focuses on fitness AND fun so that all of your workout experiences can be pleasant ones!