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BellaOnline's Alzheimers Editor

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Exercise Will Transform Your Brain

Guest Author - Debbie Mandel

We all have made fitness resolutions to improve our health and vitality. However, duties get in the way and we postpone our exercise sessions. Many of us feel, drained, depleted and depressed by Alzheimer's Disease, both as patients and caregives. Some of you reading this article might be experiencing mild cognitive impairment, or have a genetic link to Alzheimer's from a parent or even two parents. However, after reading the inspiring science of Dr. John Ratey’s revolutionary new book SPARK , the first thing I did was turn the elliptical trainer up a notch and instead of grumbling, thanked my trainer for putting me through the paces in interval training. Many of us consider the endorphin rush along with the shedding of stress hormones to be the ultimate benefits of exercise. According to Dr. Ratey, a Harvard Medical School professor, these byproducts are of secondary importance. The primary benefit of exercise according to current neuroscience is keeping our brains operating at peak performance for survival. Survival of the fittest takes on new meaning: Learning, focus, memory and mood.

Our sedentary lifestyle is the biggest threat to our existence, “inactivity is shriveling our brain,” says Dr. Ratey. It’s time to run for your life! And if you can’t run, then walk. And if you can’t walk, then use your arms and the center of your body. You can listen to Dr John Ratey explain how exercise changes the biology of the brain in a recorded interview on my radio show, Turn On Your Inner Light on WGBB Radio (Long Island).

Exercise will create balance in the brain, enhance connections between brain cells, sprout new cells and even inoculate you against stress, so you have a higher threshold. Dr. Ratey is not writing about a runner’s high in SPARK, rather he has written a passionate book which can veritably change your life, the workplace and society’s.

What does this mean for Alzheimer's? The implications are enormous. Exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system and reduces resting blood pressure. This means less strain for the blood vessels of the brain which deliver oxygen and glucose. Dr. Ratey presents evidence that aerobic exercise improves the scores of Alzheimer's patients on cognitive tests! Exercise triggers new cells to divide and become functional neurons in the hippocampus and strenthens connections between brain cells. So, use your head and move your body!


What are some of the latest scientific benefits of exercise as it impacts your world?
  • “ Miracle Grow” for the flowering of the brain
  • Improvement to the brain’s executive functions
  • Adjusting the chemistry of the entire brain for normal signaling
  • Driving oxygen more efficiently to the brain
  • Learning is 20 % faster after exercise
  • Reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s with the new growth of brain cells in the hippocampus
  • Breaking the bonds of depression and anxiety
  • Improving ADHD
  • Toning down negative consequences of hormonal changes like PMS, Post partum and menopause

Don’t wait for a doctor to scare you into exercising or getting worried sick whether your frequent forgetfulness is a precursor to mild cognitive impairment and ultimately dementia. All the motivation you need is in SPARK. You will want to move to reverse the inflammatory process of toxic stress and shrinking brain cells due to depression and illness. Remember what I always say, “Let your legs carry you to your next happiness.” Now there is science to prove it.
For more information on exercise and happiness, read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show




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Content copyright © 2014 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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