How Exercise Changes Your Brain
Imagine, for a moment, an intelligent individual standing in front of you.
In fact, let’s say this person is a downright brainiac. Perhaps even a genius.
Are you picturing this person right now?
Great… so let me ask you something:
Are you imagining a scrawny someone with horn-rimmed glasses, a pocket protector, and a general demeanor that screams “Take my lunch money, please”?…
… Or are you picturing a more muscular, athletic person?
Chances are it’s the former. And you’re not alone. Ever since school, most of us associate intelligence with a comparatively neglected body. After all, working with your mind and working with your muscles are two entirely different things, right?
Science is showing this isn’t so much the case. In fact, clinical evidence is beginning to reveal just how crucial exercise is to keeping your mind sharp, fit, and functioning throughout your life.
Surprised? Consider this:
According to research from Yale University, Alzheimer’s may begin when the small blood vessels in your brain break down.
What improves blood flow?
So it shouldn’t come as any surprise to learn regular exercise is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It might be even more important than what you eat.
In a mouse study out of the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, exercise was more effective at reducing amyloid plaque than diet, and both exercise and diet had about the same effect on amyloid as exercise alone. Amyloid plaque may be a major villain in causing Alzheimer’s.
But those are just mice. What about humans?
Earlier, we discussed the hippocampus and its crucial role in memory. In a new study, scientists measured the size of the hippocampus in volunteers. They then kept track of their physical activity for 18 months.
The results were eerie:
The “high-risk” group (with the APOE-e4 allele) that sat on their duffs for 18 months experienced hippocampus shrinkage to the tune of 3 percent. The other three groups were fine, including the high-risk group that exercised.
Exercise helps even if you start late — as late as 80 years of age.
Researchers from Rush University Medical Center measured the activity of seniors with an average age of 82. Then, over the next 41 months, they kept track of who developed Alzheimer’s.
According to Medical News Today, they found “the 10 percent least physically active seniors in their study were 2.3 times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, compared with the 10 percent most active.”
It gets even more interesting:
“They also found that exercise intensity impacted on Alzheimer’s risk. Those in the bottom 10 percent of physical activity intensity were 2.8 times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s, compared with those in the top 10 percent.”
So what kind of exercise is best?
One study comparing two different exercise routines gives a surprising answer.
Researchers divided 120 older adults into two groups. The first performed a year-long routine of walking. The second group did stretching, yoga, dumbbell and resistance band exercises, and even an exercise of their choice. For the latter group, the routine was switched every three weeks and how hard they exercised varied.
So… when it came to brain health… which group fared better when the year was over?
The group that merely walked.
I dug a little deeper, and I have a couple theories as to why.
First of all, let’s not beat up on walking too much. It’s a fantastic exercise, and walking continuously for 40 minutes is no walk in the park, so to speak. (Unless it’s literally done in a park.)
Second of all… I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during the stretching, yoga, and dumbbells sessions. According to the researchers, the participants were “encouraged to exercise at an appropriate intensity of 13–15 on the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion scale…”
OK. What does that mean?
Long story short, they simply might not have been pushing themselves hard enough. When it comes to weight training generally you lift the weight until you can’t lift it anymore… not until you feel you’re working “rather hard.”
But that still doesn’t answer the paradox of walking being so effective for brain health. If you busted out the Borg scale for that, it’d probably rank at a 10… maybe an 11. Is there something special about walking?
Perhaps there is. Researchers from Stanford University found walking boosts creative output 60 percent, a definite sign of its positive impact on the brain.
They published their findings in a study called Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking. An inspired title, for sure.
So here’s your prescription for better brain health (and unlike the dangerous drugs foisted on us by Big Pharma, this one’s free):
Start walking. I recommend a scenic path where you can enjoy yourself for 40 minutes.
Now let’s say you’re exercising and challenging your brain regularly. Is there anything else you can do to protect your memory and stave off Alzheimer’s?
Certain nutrients have astounded scientists because of their brain-enhancing properties. In the next installment of Secrets to Better Brain Health, we’re going to cover three that you need to start taking right now. The first two increase your brain power, and the third helps prevent your brain from shrinking! Seriously.
Our health maven Natalie Moore will fill you in. You do not want to miss this. Tune in tomorrow.
Underground Health Researcher
View More Free Articles
You know what the world DOESN’T need? A new pill for diabetes. But Big Pharma – and the FDA – don’t agree. The FDA just approved a new pill to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. But there’s a HUGE problem with this new drug… it CAUSES CANCER. Here’s how to stay...
As you age, it can seem like your metabolism comes to a screeching halt. And when it does, your energy tanks… and you start packing on the pounds. Even worse? You could find yourself on the fast track to dangerous diseases like diabetes and heart disease. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Because...
If you or your loved one has Alzheimer’s, you’d probably do just about anything to reverse the disease. That’s why it’s easy to submit when your mainstream doc suggests taking meds. The only problem? There’s not a single Alzheimer’s drug on the market that actually WORKS. And if that’s bad enough… research now shows that...
If you’ve got cancer, the only thing on your mind is surviving it. But the mainstream makes that difficult at every turn. The chemo… radiation… and even “safe” immunotherapies all come with a price. Now it looks like a popular class of conventional drugs can sabotage your chances of surviving cancer. And chances are you’ve...
You know those red lights that pop us on your car’s dashboards? They’re signs that somethings wrong with your car. Well, your body has the same type of warning system. And if you’re a man of 50, you shouldn’t be looking for a red light… Instead, you should be calling the doctor if you’re having...
If you’re like most of my senior patients, you’ve probably lost count of the number of times you’ve walked into a room… and totally forgot why you went in there in the first place. Or had to drive BACK to the grocery store for that one forgotten item. But most mainstream brain health solutions are...
If you’re anything like my senior patients, your biggest fear is losing your memories… and independence. And why shouldn’t it be? No one wants to saddle their family with the cost and stress of taking care of them as they grow older. But it seems like the mainstream is hell bent on seeing this happen...
As you age, keeping your brain in tip-top shape should be your most important health goal. Because without a healthy brain, you will slowly lose your memories… your health… and your independence. But your mainstream doc is NO HELP. He’ll just put you on a strict diet and give you a bunch of nasty, worthless...
If you’re anything like my senior patients, you’d do just about anything to live longer. That’s why you have up smoking… never skip your daily walk… and try to eat more veggies. But as it turns out there’s a certain drink you also NEED to avoid to stay out of an early grave. Your mainstream...
There’s all kinds of advice out there on the best way to get the most out of your workout. You know… post-exercise protein shakes… drinking water… and taking supplements. But what you don’t hear about is what you SHOULD’NT do after a workout. As it turns out there’s one weird thing you should avoid at...