Your Brain on Exercise

Your Brain on Exercise If you read the BWS Newsletter even occasionally, it should be no surprise that exercise improves your health. Besides promoting a healthy body weight and helping maintain weight loss, regular exercise may also help reduce risk for chronic disease. For example, increased insulin sensitivity and HDL cholesterol from exercise give you a potent risk reduction for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. And without medication! If you need another reason to start and stick with an exercise routine, do it for your brain! Research shows that regular exercise changes parts of the brain’s structure, which can result in improved thinking and attention span along with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Avid exercisers will happily tell you about their boost in mood and energy levels following a vigorous workout. Exercise reduces stress hormones and increases levels [...]

Exercise Your Brain: Play Brain Games

Games like crosswords and Sudoku are increasingly gaining recognition as ways to protect your brain in older age. Although additional research is needed and a causal relationship hasn’t been established, older adults who regularly play number and word games have shown brain function up to a decade younger than their age on memory tests. Just like muscles, you can use or lose brain function! Brain exercise is an important part of a comprehensive wellness program. June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge a disease nearly six million Americans live with today. There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk. Try following the MIND Diet, an eating pattern rich in nutritious foods that can reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 53% when followed closely. Reaching a [...]

Embrace Learning

We talk a lot about healthy aging concerning our body, but what about our mind? Our current knowledge of strategies for promoting brain health is limited. However, research suggests two beneficial actions can help: 1) achieve at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity throughout the week to delay the onset of cognitive decline; and 2) eat five one-cup equivalent servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. But beyond exercise and balanced eating, what else can you do? Embrace learning! Your brain has what’s known as plasticity, or the ability to learn and grow as you age. The process of learning new information can stimulate the growth of new brain cells and help prevent cognitive decline over time. Learning new complex skills strengthens connections between parts of your brain. We know that brain exercises like puzzles and word games can [...]