This past week, as I was watching the morning news, there was a segment on brain health and how recent studies have shown how exercise can improve your memory even into your older adult years. If you weren’t aware, we stop producing brain cells in our early to mid-twenties for men and early twenties for women. (Bad news for all you binge drinkers!) Additionally, as we age, a part of our brain called the hippocampus, shrinks. The hippocampus is the part of our brain that is responsible for forming, organizing and storing memories. So, in years past, Doctors have promoted learning new language skills, crossword puzzles, sudoku and other activities to keep adults mentally engaged. In doing so, new neural pathways can be formed to keep the mind sharp.
From the news segment, I found an online article detailing a study comparing physical activity versus mental activity in older adults. “So in the new study, researchers examined the medical records of 638 people from Scotland born in 1936. At age 70, the participants filled out questionnaires detailing their exercise habits as well as how often they engaged in stimulating mental and social activities. When they turned 73, the scientists took MRIs of their brains and matched their size, as well as any changes in the volume of white matter, which makes up the web of nerves that connect various brain regions, to the volunteers’ questionnaire answers.
The participants reported a range of physical activity, from household chores to heavy exercise or playing competitive sports several times a week. Over the three years, those who exercised the most had the largest brains, and showed the least shrinkage in white matter compared to those who were the least active, suggesting regular exercise in old age could protect the brain from age-related decline. Those who reported engaging in more intellectual pursuits didn’t show the same benefit.”
You can read the rest of the article here.
I don’t know about you, but I found it great to know that even though I can’t erase the damage done in my earlier years, I am still able to do something about it now. I may not be able to complete the super hard sudoku puzzles but I can do “Jackie” and “Murph” and know I am helping prevent neural shrinkage. Afterall folks, we only have one body and one mind, we might as well make it the best we can for as long as we can.
Backsquat 3 x 5
AMRAP 3min/1min rest