The human brain is the most complicated and powerful thing on the planet. It can successfully process and store information at a rate of 1.3 trillion bits per second, which is more than a million times faster than the fastest hard drive. To put it in perspective, the human brain can process enough data to create a new human being every second. Since the brain stores information as patterns of electrical pulses (neurotransmitters), it’s no surprise that exercise can be a great tool for keeping our brains sharp.
When we think of exercise, we usually think of it as a method to help us lose weight or to increase our stamina and energy. However, recent research suggests that physical activity may have an equally positive effect on brain health.
When we were in college, we all heard the saying, “Exercise makes you smarter.” The reality was that we needed a lot more than that: our brains needed fuel just like our bodies needed food and water. Working out aids memory retention, and it’s a great thing for those of us with memory loss problems. We may not have to be “smarter” than our friends, but we can still be smarter than before.
We often think that our brains are fairly forgetful and need to be constantly stimulated to stay sharp. But a new study shows that exercise may be a key part of keeping memory sharp. A small study shows that a month-long exercise program improved memory for older adults compared to other people who didn’t exercise. Exercise, particularly aerobic activity, also improved memory in young adults and older adults who did not exercise. It turns out that seniors who exercise have more intact brains (that is, they are more able to hold on to important memories).
Our bodies are more than just machines for pumping blood and digesting food. They are also used to working and playing, and with time, they undergo changes that make them less efficient. Whether it is the deterioration of muscle mass or the shrinking of the brain, these processes can occur naturally or through aging.
It’s common knowledge that exercise can help improve your health, but there is some conflicting information about whether or not it can help retain your memory. A 2009 study suggested that exercise helps improve memory. Still, a more recent study released in February of this year, the first of its kind, found the opposite to be true, concluding that exercise is not the best way to maintain a memory.
Your brain is one of the most important organs in your body, but it’s not always easy to tell how it works. Scientists are still learning how the brain works and what causes memory loss, so a team of researchers recently set out to investigate how exercise affects our memory.
So, let’s proceed now to this, how does exercise help keep our memory sharp?
Several studies have suggested that exercise helps to keep our brains active and improves the health of our memories. The hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for storing memories, is particularly vulnerable to damage from aging, disease, and environmental toxins. Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that a group of people who exercised regularly had higher levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in their brains than those who did not exercise. This plays an important part in helping the brain maintain healthy memory functions.
It may seem strange to think about exercise when the topic of memory loss is being discussed, but you might be surprised to learn that exercise is one of the best ways to keep your memory sharp. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to improve memory even more than high-interval training (HIIT) alone. A study from the University of Northumbria found that HIIT helped bolster the strength of older adults’ memories, particularly their cognitive skills. Following a healthy and active lifestyle is quite essential, and that is probably why facilities like senior living in Toms River, NJ, and elsewhere ensure daily activities and wellness programs under their care.
According to a study published in the journal Neurology in 2007, the results of which were supported by the National Institute on Aging, regular exercise may slow the onset of dementia and help preserve memory.
Brain exercises are nothing new. Similar to how we exercise for health, we should exercise our brains to stay sharp. There are many ways to learn new words, remember names, and even keep track of events. The key to all of these is the strength and mental exercise involved.