A healthy body likely leads to a healthy brain. This is excellent news for anybody looking to stave off future cognitive decline and potentially prevent or delay dementia.
Exercise is closely associated with a healthy brain. Plenty of data exists to show that when people live an active lifestyle, they are mentally sharper and experience less degradation in areas of the brain associated with memory and decision making.
This could be for a few reasons. One is that exercise encourages the brain to fire. Physical movement like walking, hitting a tennis ball, or lifting a weight stimulates the brain to fire.
Exercise also promotes better blood flow. That means more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood is flowing through the brain, helping to keep cells alive and stimulated.
There is data suggesting that exercise promotes the growth of new brain cells, too, and that it likely limits brain inflammation.
Is it any surprise that active older adults are still typically quick-witted and mentally sharp? Exercise promotes youthfulness, whether you mean physically or mentally.
Research has shown that exercise may improve memory by boosting the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with learning and memory. This is also an important step in preserving brain power with age and limiting the risk of dementia.
It is never too late to get the cognitive benefits of exercise. You can start including more light activity into your day (if you are currently sedentary). If you’re capable of doing more, the greatest benefit might come from working up a bit of sweat.
Aiming for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day – like a brisk walk – may help boost blood flow to the brain and promote better memory and thinking. It could be one of the best defenses against age-related memory loss.