Around age 40 there is a natural decline in our memory and cognition. Physical exercise is as effective crossword puzzles, learning a new language, and playing musical instruments, etc. to help keep us mentally sharp.
Our brains can grow new neurons. A study published in the journal Gerontology, showed that as little as three hours a week of aerobic exercise increased the volume of gray matter (neurons) and white matter (connections between neurons) in the brains of elderly patients. The subjects of the study also improved their memory and cognitive scores.
I’ve always said, exercise is up ther with nutrition for healthy aging. At least, start walking five to six days a week and build up to 30 minutes at a time. Once that’s easy just keep increasing the intensity with a faster walk or a bike ride.
An animal study conducted at the University of Florida has shown that exercise decreases cellular aging in the brain. Researchers studied two groups of rats. One group was allowed to exercise freely on an exercise wheel. The second group was sedentary.
After two years, the researchers found that the moderately active rats had healthier DNA. They also had more robust brain cells and less oxidative damage in the brain. In fact, according to the researchers, the DNA from these animals looked like it was from rats one quarter their age.
The amount of exercise the rats did is the equivalent of a 30-minute walk or a one-mile run for a human.
Exercsie can also improve your immune system – especially muscle-building resistance exercise. White blood cells and antibodies are the foundation of your immune system. And both are produced from protein. When you have well-developed muscles, you have a ready supply of protein to make these antibodies and cells in times of need. This is just one reason why strength training is so important, especially as you age (when muscle mass naturally decreases).
Natural killer (NK) cells are a specific type of white blood cell. These cells play a critical role against infectious agents and also cancer cells. Several studies have shown that these healthy cells are directly proportional to muscle mass in the older population. Studies have also shown that exercise not only increases their numbers, it can also improve their ability to kill invading cells (cytotoxicity). One study, also published in Gerontology showed that intense exercise boosted the cytotoxicity of NK cells by 50 to 200 percent.
Here’s the link to my 20 minutes a day workouts