We all know that regular exercise can help combat age-related decline in physical health, but did you know that it can help combat the decline in brain health too. We often associate ageing with brain deterioration and a reduction in cognitive performance in the areas of memory, attention, reasoning and speed of information processing.
What if exercise was not only a way to stay physically healthy but also a simple lifestyle change to help prevent or reverse brain decline? Would you make sure exercise was part of your everyday life? Fitness and brain health are linked, and the good news is that it is never too late to start as the brain maintains its ability to adapt and change throughout life.
Disease studies have shown that higher levels of physical activity and fitness reduce the likelihood of developing cognitive impairments in later life including the serious decline experience with dementia. In fact, the highest contributing risk factors for dementia include physical inactivity and chronic conditions often associated with poor diet and lack of activity such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Exercise aids cardio-vascular health and increases blood flow to the brain and both cardio and weight training have been shown to produce significant improvement in cognitive function. Yet another reason to plan and maintain healthy exercise habits throughout life! So next time you’re doing a squat or cycling remember you’re not only making a healthier body, you’re also helping to maintain a healthy brain as well. Further Reading: “Healthy Brain, Healthy Life” Booklet, Dementia Australia May 2021.