Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Of Sound Mind & Body 

Famous Health Studio
image via The Commons on Flickr

How would you like to improve your memory, linguistic ability, executive brain function (tasks that allow you to focus, multi-task and switching tasks quickly), reduce your chances of dementia by 30%, offset the aging of your brain by 10 to 15 years, and have a bigger brain? Who wouldn’t? What’s the answer? Ginko Bilboa? Kiwi? Seaweed wraps? Fish oil? Nope. Exercise; and not even a lot. Mild exercise, just enough to break a sweat, for about 30 minutes, three or four times a week is all that’s needed.

Last Saturday's Quirks & Quarks on CBC had a fairly in depth segment called Exercise and the Aging Brain. I'd read on the New York Times that exercise aids new brain cell growth but this CBC radio program is more detailed and nicely concise.

Exercise helps the brain with three major areas:
Blood flow: exercise increases blood flow, oxygen & nutrient supply to the brain.
Glucose Metabolism: exercise improves the efficiency of glucose use, metabolizes and transports glucose to brain tissue.
Growth Factors: exercise increases the production of growth factors to the brain which stimulates neurogenesis (production of new brain cells).

If you can withstand Bob Macdonald’s goofiness you may hear something that will help you for the rest of your life. Listen to the segment here.

Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and listen to the entire show.

Mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body).

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