Exercise can improve brain health

Exercising woman

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Are you forgetting things more as you get older? There could be a simple way to turn that around.

A new study shows that people who aren’t physically fit actually have smaller brains than people who work out regularly.

As you age, having a smaller brain is a risk factor for dementia.

In the study, people who were less fit saw an increase of aging in their brain compared to people who are fit.

The fix for this is simple: exercise.

“To me it really helps me think clearer, because it gets me fully alert and awake, especially if I exercise first thing in the morning,” said nurse Gina Wamble.

There’s a reason why Wamble feels that way after exercising.

“It enhances that blood flow and that oxygen, which just means more blood cells, more connections in your brain to keep it strong and healthy and functioning properly,” said Fitness Specialist Chauncey Carroll.

Exercise is kind of like that fountain of youth for your brain.

“Someone that doesn’t exercise is not getting as much oxygen and cell turnover on their brains, so you can almost think of those brain cells are staying older,” said Carroll.

You can change your brain with exercise at any age.

“Even people that have been sedentary their whole lives can still see improvements in their brain cells and in their life. There’s a lot of evidence that shows it can preserve memory for longer, even if someone is starting to lose their memory,” said Carroll.

But what kind of exercise are we talking about?

“Three to five days a week of exercise for about 30 minutes, or 150 minutes a week, but you can find benefits in even 10 minutes at a time,” said Carroll.

There really is no substitution for what exercise can do for your brain.

“If there was a medicine or a pill that did as much as exercise did it would be the best-selling pill on the planet,” said Carroll.

Fitness experts said the best workout for this is the one that you’ll do, so whatever interests you. This can be hiking the Incline, walking around your block, riding a bike, or going to the gym. Just find what motivates you and get out there and improve your brain health.

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