This Will Preserve Your Power to Think: Be Fit!

Your health care provider may tell you to exercise, but for brain power, it's a bit more complicated. We now want you to improve fitness. Exercise coaches and trainers can help track your improvements
, but you can do this for yourself as well. If you want to improve brain function, you have to improve your overall fitness. We know a lot about what can cause or brain power to diminish as we age and most of these factors have to do with cardiovascular disease and other factors that lead to decreased brain circulation: higher systolic blood pressures, abnormal blood fats, alcohol abuse, smoking, and diabetes are among those things that we know cause increased risks of Alzheimer', dementia and cognitive impairment. We have long told our patients that exercise is directly linked to improved thinking, and now we can prove that. Exercise has been shown to increase nerve growth in critical brain areas such as the hippocampus. Exercise will also increase both the brain gray and white matter volume in the prefrontal and temporal cortical brain regions. These areas are important for thinking reserve. Brain blood flow and oxygen are increased by exercise, and in fact the plaques that are thought to be the culprit of Alzheimer's are lessened. Not only do you have to exercise, and the more exercise, generally the better, but you have to be fit. The take home message is to have purpose to your fitness: if it's walking time your self at the one mile, and then try to improve your pace as you train. If paddling, can you make it farther? If swimming, you can do more HITT! If you are not able to improve your fitness while you train, then, that is another health challenge that we want to help you evaluate!

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