Brain Health and Exercise

While reading The Runner’s Brain to help with my half marathon training, I discovered some fantastic advice for every non-runner out there.

Getting active helps your brain. A study (1) completed in 2013 of seniors in their 70’s and 80’s with mild cognitive impairment, compared memory changes after 6 months of practicing different exercise activities.

The brisk walkers/jogging group had improvements in spatial memory and memory recall along with various language improvements. The weight lifters improved with spatial memory; and the group that did light stretching and toning lost some cognitive ground.


Cardiovascular exercise improves memory by triggering a brain growth protein that improves the health of current neurons and encourages the brain to make more.

How much exercise do I need?people walking, running and biking on a path in a park

Conveniently another study (2) answered that question, you want a minimum of 3 hours a week of sustained cardiovascular activity. Considering the American Heart Association recommends 30 mins of moderate intensity activity 5 days a week, add in a 6th day and you hit the 3 hour mark for the week. Brain and Heart health in a single activity.

There are plenty of places here in Nashua to get in those 30 minutes. Mine Falls offers shaded trails to enjoy the outdoors when it’s hot outside. Not far away there are the trails at Beaver Brook. Indoor options include many of the area gyms, all you need is access to a treadmill. The Nashua Senior Center has a fitness room available to members.

If you find that aches and pains are getting in the way of exercise, you might have a neurostructural shift. Focusing on Neurostructural Integration, Catalyst Chiropractic can help determine if you have a shift and create a specific plan to help improve your function so you can exercise and enjoy more of life’s activities.
Where are your favorite places to take a walk?

1) Alison Chan, Jennifer C Davis, Lindsey S. Nagamatsu, et al., “Physical Activity Improves Verbal and Spatial Memory in Older Adults with Probable Mild Cognitive Impairment: A 6-Month Randomized Controlled Trail,” Journal of Aging Research 2013 (2013), doi:110.1155/2013/861893
2) F.H. Gage, T. Shubert, H. van Praag, and C. Zhao, “Exercise Enhances Learning and Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Aged Mice,” The Journal of Neuroscience 25, no. 38 (2005), 8680-8685

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