We know that working out can help you maintain a healthy weight and build strength, but it’s a lesser known fact that exercise directly impacts your brain function.
When you exercise, your brain is rejuvenating itself through the process of neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells. Neurogenesis declines steadily with age, and sharply with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Exercising helps your brain combat age-related decline with a boost of fresh, new brain cells.
Exercise helps your brain in other ways, too. When you get your heart rate up, your body takes in and uses more oxygen. The result is lowered blood pressure that allows more blood flow to the brain, providing it with vital nutrients.
When you hit the gym, it might take months to see your muscles change shape. The same isn’t true with your brain! Brain changes and improved cognitive performance have been noted as little as two weeks after beginning an exercise program.
If you’re not used to exercising regularly, it can seem daunting to begin. But protecting your brain health can be as simple as taking a brisk walk. So, take a deep breath and make a commitment to go for a 15 minute walk today. However much you exercise, find or add to an activity you enjoy, and get moving!