A few weeks ago, we blogged about how exercise not only is crucial to maintain a healthy and fit body but also can play an important role in reducing anxiety. Today new studies reveal that exercise may also be vital to keeping your mind strong and preventing memory loss and brain disease.
The most encouraging study, by Canadian researchers, concludes that even modest activity had a significant effect on brain function as the years progressed. The study measured the energy expenditure and cognitive functioning of a large group of seniors over five years and discovered that 90% of the people who exercised could think and remember perfectly for a longer time.
Laura Middleton, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and lead author of the study, said that their “results indicate that vigorous exercise isn’t necessary” to protect your mind. All you need are simple activities like walking the dog or gardening on a regular basis to keep your mind fit and healthy.
A similar study of women in their 70s with vascular disease came to the same conclusion as there was a decreasing rate of cognitive decline among the more active group. Dr. Eric Larson, the vice president of research at Group Health Research Institute said “if we can push out the onset of dementia by 5, 10 or more years, that changes the dynamics of aging” and he was hopeful that exercise can be the solution. Now all that’s needed is to find a way to get everybody active and moving.
 Gretchen Reynolds, “How Exercise Can Keep the Brain Fit”, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/27/how-exercise-can-keep-the-brain-fit/?ref=health#
Everyone wants to feel younger. Whether it’s to help deal with that aching back, constant tiredness or diet, these solutions have been coveted for generations. Use these simple tips to help you feel a lot younger:
Go to bed earlier – getting adequate amounts of sleep is one of the best ways to feel younger fast. Henry Lodge (MD and co-author of “Younger Next Year for Women”) calls sleep “the only time your body can truly restore itself…it helps build a more vibrant body and brain”. It’s very likely you aren’t currently getting enough sleep. It is recommended that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Try to get to this number for six weeks straight and you’ll feel the energy difference.
Eat healthier, revitalizing food – Try to have something healthy at the start of every meal. It can be simple like a big glass or water or your favorite fruit. But by increasing your vitamin and antioxidant intake you will feel refreshed and recharged all the time.
Go to the gym – A good, regular gym workout can help you feel 10-20 years younger. This is because a good workout involving weights causes micro-tears in your muscles which then allow your body to create thicker, stronger muscle fibers. Working out will also increase your stamina and reduce your risk of injuries during everyday activities.
Freestyle a bit – your brain and body love variety so you need to stimulate that to help create that sense of novelty that you had when you learned something new as a child. These don’t have to be drastic changes every day. They can be as simple as trying out a different workout machine at the gym or getting a different coffee in the morning.
Try these tips and you’ll be making the right steps toward feeling 25 again.
 Sarah Jio, “Defy your age: What truly helps you stay younger inside and out”, http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/07/19/defy.your.age/index.html?hpt=he_c2
It has long been known that daily exercise is crucial in maintaining a strong body and living a long, healthy life. But more recently, researchers have discovered that exercise can be an effective method of reducing anxiety as well.
Most times when a patient is seeking treatment for anxiety or depression, doctors prescribe psychotherapy or medication. But exercise is becoming a reliable third option or supplement to other treatments, although it is rarely prescribed. Daniel Landers, a professor emeritus in the department of kinesiology at Arizona State University concludes that “exercise seems to work better than relaxation, meditation, stress education and music therapy”. Unlike medication through pills, exercise serves as therapy that is easier to stick with because of its immediate mood boost and results.
Recent studies by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and Princeton University have revealed that exercise in mice has proven to reduce their levels of stress and anxiety. Although mice are obviously not human, scientists are confident that these experiments were strongly representative of how humans would also act. In addition, a survey by Norwegian researchers this month “found that those who engaged in any exercise, even a small amount, reported improved mental health”.
It is believed that exercise helps reduce depression by:
- “Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
- Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
- Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects”
Make sure to talk to your doctor before engaging in an exercise regimen to find out which activities and how much exercise is good for you. Exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety or depression but it is not a substitute for medication, therapy or other treatments, so please act accordingly.
 Kim Painter, “Exercise helps fight anxiety, depression”, http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/painter/2010-04-26-yourhealth26_ST_N.htm#
 Gretchen Reynolds, “Why Exercise Makes Us Feel Good”, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/why-exercise-makes-us-feel-good/
 Mayo Clinic staff, “Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms”, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression-and-exercise/MH00043