In addition to flooding our bodies with feel-good hormones and helping us get fit, exercise may help our brains with improved memory and cognitive abilities — which are especially important as we age. A new case of dementia is detected every four seconds globally, so it pays to exercise on a regular basis as another step toward protecting our brains.
Key Benefits of Exercise for the Brain
Reducing insulin resistance and inflammation: Insulin resistance and chronic inflammation have both been linked to dementia, so keeping both under control is, dare we say, a no-brainer.
Stimulating the release of growth factors: Growth factors are chemicals in the brain responsible for supporting our brain cells’ health and growing new blood vessels, which affects blood flow to the brain.
Tips to Fit Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
Make it an obligation: Sign up for a class with a friend so you can’t leave them hanging, or adopt the dog you’ve always wanted so you’re forced to go on daily walks. Sometimes a little extrinsic motivation is all we need.
Move while you work: Try out a treadmill or cycling desk to help you passively get movement in while you work. Even a slow walk is better than nothing at all!
Practice small habits: They may seem random at first, but if you’re consistent, even adopting small habits can add up to make a difference. Whether you try doing bodyweight exercises while the microwave is warming up your food, or doing a burpee or two every time you enter the bedroom — practice new habits until you don’t even have to think about them anymore.