As if we don’t have enough reasons to stay or get in shape; heart health, weight loss or stabilization, bone health, mood lift, flexibility, strengthen muscles, and shorts weather is around the bend! There is one more benefit that we are often unaware of, overlook or forget: staying active and exercising helps keep our brain in shape.
Like our muscles, our brain require oxygenation to function effectively, and that occurs with aerobic exercise. Research done in the last ten years shows that intense aerobic activity actually grows new brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus. Even walking 30 minutes a day can help you focus better, and that can only help your performance at work.
Can’t remember names or items to put on your list? As you age memory becomes key. It seems that our trusty hippocampus atrophies. That’s correct- your brain is going to shrink.
From WebMD: “A new study suggests moderate aerobic exercise may slow or even reverse age-related memory loss in older adults by increasing the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that assists in forming memories. The volume of the hippocampus may shrink and lead to memory impairment in the elderly. But researchers found one year of moderate aerobic exercise, like walking, in a group of older adults increased the volume of hippocampus by 2%, which effectively reversed the age-associated shrinkage by one to two years.”
So follow advice from Dr. Laura Lacritz, UT Southwestern Medical Center’s associate director of neuropsychology says, “What I tell people is what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.”