REVERSE AGING MEMORY LOSS WITH EXERCISE

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ForgotFrom the late 20s on, you will lose about 1% of that part of the brain that is key to memory and certain types of learning. One of the easiest ways to get smarter is to go for a walk or a swim, according to a number of studies just recently. In fact, exercise seems to keep the brain from shrinking and to help its neurons to function better than ‘thinking’ does.
I have as much trouble remembering things as anyone else, and really hate it when I can’t remember someone’s name, or when I have trouble reconnecting with a complex task that requires memory, dexterity, speed, and so on.
So instead of using special herbs to help memory loss, many recent studies show that a substance produced by the body, BDNF, helps grow nerve cells for memory and task performance: BDNF can be increased with exercise. Here are some examples from a New York Times article this month:
1) For example, pilots from 40 to 55, in a study at Stanford, were tested in a cockpit simulator. Those with more BDNF in their blood were much better when the things got tough and busy. The study showed “….for everyone, the evidence is very, very strong that physical activity will increase BDNF levels and improve cognitive health.”
2) A really interesting study in Brazil found that after sedentary, elderly rats ran for a mere five minutes or so several days a week for five weeks, the memory center of their brains was more active, and increased production of BDNF. The old, exercised animals then performed almost as well as much younger rats on rodent memory tests.
3) In Ireland, sedentary students were divided into two groups: one group just sat around for 30 minutes while the other rode stationary bikes until they were exhausted. Then both were asked to remember names of photographs they’d been shown before. Guess what? Those who had exercised had a higher memory score….as well as higher BDNF in their blood tests.
When I look at these studies, I feel like I can attribute my pretty-darn-good mental capabilities and performance to the exercise I do every day, which varies from moderate to kinda extreme. Generally, most of the studies seem to show, though, that just moderate exercise has a pretty big effect on mental performance….it’s just the body making the right chemicals for your brain. Thinking doesn’t even seem to be involved in the process!! It’s amazing!

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