Aerobic Exercise Linked to Brain Cell Health
Recent studies at the University of Ottawa and The University of British Columbia have discovered a link between brain health and aerobic exercise. While it’s no secret that exercise is good for the physical body, aerobic exercise can stimulate memory, reduce stress and anxiety and improve problem-solving functions, especially in older adults.
This is well documented in runners. Those who run for extended amounts of time get what is known in the field as “runner’s high” in which the brain produces a chemical called VGF- a natural opioid that stimulates a sense of euphoria. This correlates with lower levels of stress after a run, and lower memory of stressful situations after a run is completed.
Eli Puterman, Ph.D., the lead researcher and a professor of kinesiology at the University of British Columbia chimes in. “We are constantly rewriting our memories, so of course, if exercise makes me happy or calm more often, I might interpret the stressor as less impactful as it’s happening but I might also recall it later as less stressful.”
While there is no one exercise that is best for the brain, exercise at any stage has proven to slow the signs of brain-related illnesses, including dementia, and other health risks like hypertension and diabetes.
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