Crossword Puzzles, Memory Games, Sudoku…New Research Suggests a Better Method to Improving your Brain Health!

Have you ever walked into a room and forgot what brought you in there? Or how about mid-conversation, forgetting what your point to the story was? It happens to all of us! But what do we do about it? New research suggests EXERCISE is the best medicine for improving brain health!

Have you always been an avid exerciser? Turns out, your brain will thank you later. It is now strongly recommended to start exercising regularly early in your life to prevent dementia in your later years. Wait a minute, later years? Does that mean it’s too late? Absolutely not, it’s never too late to start – exercise is the best medicine!

Exercise helps the brain by…

  • Improving memory
  • Increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
  • Improving learning rate (German researchers found that the learning rate in people improved by 20% after exercise)
  • Preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (Aerobic exercise reinforces neural connections by the number of dendrite connections between neurons, making a denser network) Ok so…what does that mean? It helps the brain process and store information better!

Does this mean exercise helps with depression too? Absolutely!

Exercise increases chemicals in the brain that help cognition, such as dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine and serotonin. Depression is related to low levels of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which increases concentrations of these neurotransmitters.

What do those chemicals do?

  • Norepinephrine
    • Increases attention, promotes vigilance, pleasure and retrieval of memory.
  • Dopamine
    • Improves motivation, motor control and reward.
  • Serotonin
    • Thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness, regulation of mood, appetite and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning.
  • Glutamate
    • Memory creation and management, messaging for body movement and thought process.

Feeling like you have “brain fog” or feeling lethargic at work? Try getting up for 5-10 minutes – your brain just may need to be stimulated!