Exercise makes you brainy!

Mary Tweed
image description

Did you know that your brain has the potential to grow and regenerate itself throughout your life? According to John J. Ratey, a psychiatrist and internationally recognised expert in Neuropsychiatry, there’s unquestionable evidence that exercise improves cognitive function and can help prevent dementia. He believes that exercise, in effect, switches our brains on and in doing so it also ignites our attention system, motivation system and memory system. The key is to keep active and Nordic Walking, with the added bonus of being sociable and taking place outdoors, is the perfect choice.

We all know that exercise increases the heart rate and increases the flow of blood around the body. That blood also pumps around our brains, improving its functional capacity. From about the age of forty, we start to lose on average five percent of our overall brain volume per decade, up until about age seventy, when any number of conditions can accelerate the process. However, people who engage in some form of activity can impede this deterioration. With age, neurons in the brain decline from cellular stress. Synapses erode and eventually sever the connections. If the rate of this synaptic decay outpaces the regeneration of new cells, problems arise with mental or physical function, ranging from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s disease.

Not only does exercise improve your mind’s alertness, attention, mood and motivation, it also prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for learning new information. Because the ageing brain is prone to damage, anything you do to augment it has a marked effect. Exercise stimulates the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus. The fitter, stronger, more connected brain you have when going over the proverbial hill, the more resilient and better able to resist neuronal breakdown it will be for longer.

A particularly important effect of exercise for older adults is that it stimulates dopamine, which declines with age. Dopamine is one of the key players in our reward and motivation systems, keeping apathy, which can become a defining characteristic for older people, at bay. So next time you are out Nordic Walking remember it is not just your body that is working out, but more crucially your grey matter!

Get in touch

In order to answer your enquiry more quickly, please complete this form and submit it to us. We will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible.

Stay in touch

If you would like to be kept informed of forthcoming events and classes, please sign up to our newsletter which we send out six times a year.