We tend to think of exercise as being good for our heart and lungs, but did you know that being active is one of the best things you can do for your brain health?
When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago, our family was heartbroken. Dad, however, rose to the challenge and did everything in his power to keep his brain healthy during the years he had left.
What did he do? He spent a lot of time attending courses, reading books, doing puzzles, listening to classical music, and stimulating his brain in all the recommended ways.
Most importantly, however, he continued to live an active life. He went outside for long, brisk walks at least 3 times a day up until the day he died in 2014. Earlier that day, he and my step-mother, who had been vacationing in the U.K., spent the afternoon walking around the beautiful city walls of Chester.
In the end, it was his heart that failed him, not his brain. Yes, his brain had been slowing down, but his active lifestyle kept him sharp for much longer than his doctors anticipated.
In this short video, Dr. Paul Thompson talks about the positive effects of exercise on the brain, as well as the detrimental effects of stress and cortisol on the brain.
For more information about this research, visit the Human Connectome Project.
Movement truly is medicine for the mind, and the great news is that it’s never too late to start.
P.S. In this short time we have on earth, let’s think about how we can make the most of it. We can do our bodies a favour by choosing an active lifestyle and by cutting down on stress as much as we can.
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