Another Reason to Work out Besides Burning Calories

Working out for Brain Health


A recent study conducted in Sweden correlated high-level physical fitness in middle-aged women with nearly a 90% decrease in risk of developing dementia later in life.  This study was published in Neurology magazine in March of 2018.  191 women were tested using a maximal ergometer cycling test to evaluate cardiovascular fitness.  Over the course of approximately 44 years, the women were tested against dementia risk criteria six different times.  It is important to note that the association was based on high physical fitness compared to moderate physical fitness.

The bottom line is that cardiovascular fitness improves circulation everywhere in the body, including the brain. 

As an enthusiast of physical activity, I was inspired by these findings.  We all know that exercise is important but we might be especially motivated to reach a high fitness level if we imagine ourselves staying mentally clear and sharp as we age. 

Now that it’s summer, there are many things we can do to work-up a sweat:

  1. Doing a strenuous hike with an elevation gain.
  2. Signing up for a running event and committing to training for it.
  3. Climbing up stairs.
  4. Taking a cycling class.
  5. Challenging oneself to a month’s membership at a nearby gym that offers interval training.

If you have difficulty starting a new routine or following through on one, partner up with someone who can join you even half the time or simply help you get started.  Make it fun and an enjoyable part of your day.  

Clara Barnett ND, LAc

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