In the July issue of Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, researchers provide further evidence that exercise is good for your brain.
As we age, blood flow to the brain decreases and oxidative stress increases. Both of these normally occur in the brain and lead to reduced cognitive function. This can also lead to more serious brain problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercising regularly increases the blood flow to the brain, keeps the blood vessels healthier, and increases chemicals in the brain such as BDNF, also known as “Miracle Grow for the brain” because BDNF helps to grow new brain cells!
Regular exercise can also act as an anti-oxidant, which decreases the oxidative stress on the brain, protecting it against deterioration.
Here’s how the researchers summed it up: “Exercise could well turn out to be the most convenient, practical, and cost-effective way to ameliorate age-related declines in cognition while mitigating other age-related diseases. These benefits have the potential to improve health with advancing age and to significantly reduce the anticipated and rapidly escalating costs associated with age-related cognitive impairment and dementia facing our aging society.”
In other words, if you’re concerned about all the negative things (reduced brain power, senility, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease) that can happen to your brain as we get older, regular exercise is the most convenient and cheapest thing we can do to protect our brains from the normal aging process!
While the researchers didn’t look at the effects of exergaming, we know that certain forms of exergaming can reach the moderate to vigorous level of intensity which would bring about these same benefits. Not only that, but one has to concentrate while playing the game as well, which also has cognitive benefits. Therefore exergaming can be beneficial for brain health!
Have you taken your Vitamin Exergaming today?
Ernie Medina, Jr., DrPH, CHFS
Physical Activity Evangelist