Researchers have zeroed in on a single breakthrough solution for…
- fighting memory loss
- repairing Alzheimer’s damage
- slashing some of the most severe Parkinson’s symptoms
It’s free (unless you count the cost of your sneakers), it’s natural and it has powerful brain boosting benefits.
I’m talking about exercise.
Because as unlikely as it sounds, research has shown simply unseating your seat regularly is a potent prescription for boosting brain power. And according to experts, exercise can help fight memory loss and reduce some of the worst symptoms of devastating brain diseases.
In fact, after years of research the American Academy of Neurology has finally made it official. They recently announced in the journal Neurology that exercise is indeed helpful for folks suffering from mild cognitive impairment.
And the Alzheimer’s Association quickly added their blessing, endorsing the new guideline too.
Brain boosting exercise puts the brakes on memory loss
Although long term studies haven’t yet been completed, a number of shorter term trials have already revealed the brain boosting power of humble exercise. For example, a 12-week long study conducted by the University Of Maryland School Of Public Health found that walking could improve connections in the brain.1
Older volunteers, half with mild cognitive impairment and half with healthy brains, participated in the walking study. Each of the participants walked briskly for 30 minutes, four times a week for three months.
Before and after the 12 weeks of walking each of the volunteers had a fMRI brain scan to map the connections in their brains. The researchers focused on the posterior cingulate cortex region in particular because losing connections to the PCC is associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
At the end of the three months, both groups showed improvements in memory. They were able to recall a list of words more easily.
But those suffering from mild cognitive decline saw the real power of exercise. They had IMPROVED neural connections to the PCC from 10 different areas of the brain!
Fight off Alzheimer’s with brain boosting movement
And the power of exercise to protect our precious memories doesn’t end there, either. Another recent study concluded that physical activity could help protect your brain against Alzheimer’s, even if you’re at higher risk for the disease.2
Researchers tracked a group of healthy folks who had a high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease. They found that those volunteers who were getting over an hour of moderate movement daily—such as brisk walking—had far better glucose metabolism in areas of the brain typically affected by Alzheimer’s. And according to the experts, that’s an indicator of neuron health and activity.
And the brain boosting benefits of exercise go beyond improving memory and fighting Alzheimer’s disease. It turns out making a move could also help relieve some of the most severe symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Physical activity slow Parkinson’s progression
Folks who are born with a mutated version of the protective DJ-1 gene get slammed with more severe Parkinson’s disease symptoms and they show up at a younger age. But recent research has found exercise could help put a brake on the neurological disease.
In the animal experiment, researchers divided mice with Parkinson’s disease into two groups. One group was given exercise wheels and the other was not.
The mice which exercised ended up with significantly better cognitive function according to the study published in PLOS One.3 The researchers believe regular exercise can switch on the protective DJ-1 gene, helping to slow down the progression of the devastating disease.
While the research continues into just how far reaching the brain boosting power of exercise is, it’s already clear that staying active can do far more than just keep your body physically fit. Making movement a part of your regular routine can also help your brain stay in shape too.
1. “Exercise Training and Functional Connectivity Changes in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Healthy Elders.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, May 2017
2. “Moderate Physical Activity is Associated with Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Adults at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease,” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2017
3.”Running wheel exercise reduces α-synuclein aggregation and improves motor and cognitive function in a transgenic mouse model of Parkinson’s disease,” PLOS One, Published: December 22, 2017, doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190160