carry a healthy life style and taking care of our body is something that we are becoming more aware of, especially as we age. It is normal that over time, we begin to notice problems: both physical (joint pain and discomfort), and mental (lack of concentration or small gaps in memory). Staying active can be the solution to delay as much as possible all the inconveniences that years bring.
But,what is the best exercise to take care of the body and the brain? Well, according to the Harvard University it’s cardio. Running, swimming, cycling, walking… are heart healthy exercises, also known as aerobics, which are characterized by increasing the heart rate and breathing using large muscles and activating the sweat glands. These exercises are good for both the body and the brain.
According to Dr Julie Brody Magidclinical director of the Memory Disorders Assessment Clinic at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, “Although there is no foolproof medical tool that can delay the onset of dementia and other memory problems, cardiovascular exercise has shown to help protect the brain of cognitive impairment”.
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How cardiovascular exercise stimulates the brain
Although there are various theories, Harvard research has focused on how cardio can strengthen the heartpromote healthy arteries, improve blood flow to the brain, fight inflammation, and increase key chemicals that encourage the growth of new brain cells.
Science has shown that the Chronic inflamation it can become a key factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, type 2 diabetes and even premature aging. According to Harvard studies, cardio activates a molecule called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps repair brain cells and produce new brain cells. It has also been associated with a larger hippocampus, the region of the brain that stores and retrieves memories.
A study published on August 20, 2021 by Nature Metabolism found that hoirisin harmony, produced by muscles during exercise, protected mice against brain swelling. The study also suggested that increasing irisin through exercise could help counteract the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s.
Another study published on March 23, 2021 by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease looked at how cardiovascular exercise affects people with early cognitive decline. Those who followed a moderate to vigorous cardiovascular program for a year performed better on cognitive tests than those who only did a stretching routine. Most participants walked briskly, but others went swimming, cycling, or ballroom dancing. They followed a 30 minute routinethree days a week for six months and then increased it to five workouts a week.
What type of cardiovascular exercise should you do to keep your body and brain fit?
At the moment there is nothing conclusive regarding the type of exercise to choose. So the best thing is that you choose the one that you find most appetizing, because what counts is doing it regularly. Although it is also convenient to challenge yourself and try new things.
According to Dr. Brody Magic, it is advisable to practice a moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week. “Just as the body acclimatizes and doesn’t get stronger when you do the same exercise all the time, the brain can also get too comfortable with routine exercise.” She suggests combining cardiovascular exercises with varied intervals and trying new activities.