Whenever given an opportunity, I take pleasure in learning and sharing my practice, knowledge and interest in a holistic approach to staying healthy. During our recent sojourn in the Philippines, J.J. and I met 3 individuals whose spouses inquired if I know of any exercises to improve their memory and cognitive functioning.
The following is based on my study notes:
1. Just like the muscles in our body, if one does not use the brain, it would suffer atrophy.
2. Aerobic exercises have positive effects on brain function ranging from the molecular to behavioral level.
3. Exercise increases heart rate, as a result pumps more oxygen to the brain.
5. Exercise facilitates the bodily release of hormones, which aids and provides a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.
6. Exercise stimulates the brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells.
7. Exercise assists with a drop in stress hormones, has antidepressant effects associated with more cell growth in the hippocampus. This is an area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
In summary, anything that is good for your heart is good for your brain.
So get your walking shoes and give your body and brain a good work out. Yoga, T'ai Chi, Qui-gong, Tae Kwan-do, Tang Soo Do or other forms of martial arts are all beneficial. If You have no time to spare, do jumping jacks, push ups and squats -- target 100 x each and you will feel energized. Oh yes Jim, Zumba or other forms of dance are also great for your body and brain.
Begin by doing 5 minutes increment twice a day. Your body will crave for them. Enjoy!