Have you ever noticed how your mind feels after a good workout? Post-exercise, you’re bound to experience more peace, clarity, and optimism. But the benefits of regular exercise go beyond a healthy body and improved mood; in any form, whether it’s a casual walk or an intense weight circuit, exercise can have long-term benefits on brain function. It’s especially worth noting how exercise impacts your brain as you age.
A generally healthy person’s brain function declines at a very gradual pace as they age. In the current cultural climate, however, members of the general population are experiencing significant cognitive decline at a rapid pace. Stress, sleep deprivation, dietary choices, and sedentary lifestyles are key contributors to this decline.
Just like other muscles or organs in our body, lack of proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stimulation negatively affect the brain as well and create symptoms (such as brain fog, forgetfulness, memory lapses, and reduced focus) telling you that something is wrong. It is estimated that there are over 45 million Americans over the age of 50 who are experiencing these symptoms now and are at risk for further cognitive decline if not addressed. Exercise can play a crucial role in the prevention, postponement, and repair of this cognitive decline.
How Exercise Benefits the Brain
In addition to improving your mood, regular exercise benefits your brain function in many short-term ways. It can boost energy, focus, blood flow, and sleep quality, as well as reduce inflammation. It can help your body eliminate stress hormones and better manage anxiety. Each of these things can perpetuate cognitive decline when they become chronic issues not managed with healthy habits like exercise and/or medication and supplementation.
In some cases, exercise can even increase the size of the hippocampus, which can mean better memory, learning, and emotion regulation. The hippocampus naturally shrinks as we age, but consistent activity can help slow this brain tissue loss.
When looking at the long-term benefits of exercise, studies show regular activity can increase endorphins and growth factors (proteins that promote cell growth) in the brain, leading to improved neurological connections important for memory and learning.
Research also suggests physical activity can “delay the effects of both physiological aging and pathological neurodegeneration,” such as Alzheimer’s. One of the major contributors to developing Alzheimer’s is insulin sensitivity.
The Bredesen 7
According to Dr. Bredesen MD, author of “The End of Alzheimer’s”, exercise is one of the seven crucial categories essential for neural plasticity. The full list, also known as “The Bredesen 7”, includes:
- Stress Management
Dr. Bredesen’s research over the past two decades has proven that there is not only a “cure” for Alzheimer’s and dementia, but that through proper nutrition and lifestyle interventions, we can almost entirely prevent the next generation from ever progressing into dementia or Alzheimer’s. “Supporting your brain–today and every day–with good habits and a smart supplementation routine can keep you mentally sharp,” he said. “No matter your family history, DNA, or previous neurological issues, there is hope.”
These seven elements come straight from Dr. Bredesen’s PRECODE (PREvention of COgnitive DEcline) method. He recommends making one small lifestyle change at a time in order to develop healthy habits that build upon each other.
Try incorporating some of these active habits into your day if you don’t already have a good exercise routine:
- Take a walk
- Get a personal trainer
- Join a running club
- Do yoga or pilates
- Try new exercise classes
- Start an at-home workout program
Just 20-30 minutes of daily activity can create significant improvements on your brain function and slow cognitive decline.
Exercise and Supplementation
While exercise on its own can benefit your brain’s long-term health, these benefits can compound when combined with proper supplementation. Just as an athlete may take creatine or glutamine to improve physical performance, taking supplements for brain function alongside exercise can have a more serious positive impact on your brain.
When it comes to supplementation that supports exercise and overall brain function, ingredients are key. Supplements like NeuroQ can give your brain a daily boost of focus and clarity while delivering the nutrients needed for long-term neuroprotection of healthy brain function, including memory, attention, and processing speed. These key ingredients include:
- Gotu Kola (promotes brain and nervous system health)
- Ginkgo Leaf Extract (supports healthy blood flow to the brain)
- Phosphatidylserine (supports brain function by maintaining healthy cell membranes)
- Coffee Fruit Extract (boosts nerve transmission)
- Yamada Bee Farm Propolis (supports the development of nerve tissue)
By fueling your brain with NeuroQ, you can expect to feel more clarity, energy, and overall well being as you pursue other healthy daily habits.
Is it time to evaluate your cognitive health?
If you’re not sure what the status of your cognitive health is or what healthy habits your brain would benefit from most, you can take NeuroQ’s free cognitive evaluation. This is the first-ever cognitive assessment of its kind, and it only takes 15 minutes. The test will evaluate five things:
- Composite memory
- Verbal memory
- Visual memory
- Executive function
- Processing speed
The more you know about your current cognitive health, the more you can be aware of how to take care of it long-term. Regular physical activity is one of the most effective precautions you can take to support optimal brain function. For more information on what you can do to support a healthy brain, click here.