Hmmm, should I or shouldn’t I? It’s 19 degrees outside, I’d much rather curl up with a book (who am I kidding, I have a 2 year old at home!) and there are still 3 solid months before I have to don a bathing suit! BUT, beyond the very obvious benefits of physical activity (toning muscles, improving heart and lung function, reducing my risk of major diseases, and even adding years to my life (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389) the evidence behind exercise and improving cognitive functioning has really inspired me to get up and get moving on some of the coldest and laziest of days. And this is why; thank you, Dr. David Perlmutter, for your summary!
Physical exercise is one of the most potent ways of changing your genes; put simply, when you exercise, you literally exercise your genes. Aerobic exercise in particular not only turns on genes linked to longevity, but also targets the BDNF gene, the brain’s “growth hormone.” More specifically, exercise has been shown to increase BDNF, reverse memory decline in elderly humans, and actually increase growth of new brain cells in the brain’s memory center. Exercise isn’t just for trim looks and a strong heart; perhaps its most powerful effects are going on silently in the upstairs room where our brains reside . . . which gives a whole new meaning to the phase “jog your memory”.
In the past decade we have really been able to quantify and qualify the extraordinary relationship between physical fitness and mental fitness. . . The newest findings make it undeniably clear that the link between exercise and brain health isn’t just a relationship. In the worlds of science writer, Gretchen Reynolds for the New York Times, “It is the relationship.” Exercise, according to the latest science, “appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhances cognitive flexibility.” And this, my friends, many mean that there is no greater tool at our fingertips than physical movement.