dementia

How activity and exercise improves your health

For years we have been told that exercise is good for us. Now the evidence is becoming indisputable.  Being inactive is as bad as smoking or drinking too much alcohol. It could even be more serious than that.

Over the years I’ve found so much information I didn’t know what to do with it. I mainly shared it through my original blog or kept it private hoping to share it when I found the right approach. For many of these articles I’ve now been waiting years which just isn’t helping anyone.

I recently realised my blogs are the perfect medium on which to share because I’m most interested in the discussions and debate around this topic. I don’t feel I have the answers, I share because I’m interested in learning and using what I learn to help me on my journey through life.

I have now started to organise all I have found and it’s re invigorating my dreams because the message really is about living your life. The act of living itself is what we must do. Moving is living. Activity to me isn’t just physical it is mental and emotional. Thinking about things makes your brain active, experiencing emotions involves both your brain and your body.

For now most information will be about physical activity because that is what is most available. Though I am looking for and finding interesting articles in all three areas. Over time this and all the other posts will grow as I continue this life journey.

Diseases

For now I’m creating a series of articles covering the various topics related to activity and health. So far I have published:

Key articles

Activity is so useful throughout life that I’ve also compiled a list of the main articles worth reading to build your general knowledge.

Useful Reading

Here is more useful information

Mental activity may circumvent Dementia and Alzheimers


Lack of physical activity is now accepted as a serious health risk and the evidence shows that our brains need as much activity as our bodies do to keep them fit and healthy.

The amount of research showing this link is becoming over whelming so I have share a few of my favourites to help you quickly understand how beneficial good movement can be to :

  1. strengthen your mind,
  2. give you more energy
  3. and prevent against serious illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s

Working around problems

My absolute favourite is the nun study because it used cold hard data instead of correlations and showed very clearly that

  1. Everyones brain experiences the changes that lead to Alzheimer’s
  2. Alzheimer’s only occurred in those who didn’t regularly challenge their brain
  3. Challenging the brain forces it to find ways to overcome poorly functioning brain systems.

I like to read the authors words so this excerpt is a grreat summary of the findings:

Autopsies of the brains of individuals who lived well into their nineties or older and who showed no signs of mental functional decline, revealed that most exhibited significant changes in brain structures and biological markers usually associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  In spite of those changes, they did not show any behavioral changes.  Snowden concluded that continued mental exercising allowed for the development of alternate pathways that bypassed the diseased portions of the brain and that appeared to account for their preserved mental functioning.

This kind of research implies that our bodies have a highly developed capability to work around problems within themselves. All they need to trigger this ability is the right kind of stimulation which generally comes from some kind of activity. Those that train their minds regularly benefit greatly because their brains learn to work around the existing problems and continue functioning as normal.

Maintaining proper underlying functions

In looking at just how activity may help dementia I found that a strong immune system and properly regulated protein synthesis help prevent Alzheimers and dementia which are two core body processes that are improved with quality physical activity.

In general the idea is that activity, whether it’s mental or physical, challenges your body and mind, forcing it to make the changes required to be efficient and work well

Could your brains ability to harness energy explain age related mental decline?

Everyone seems to assume that your mind must degrade with age but I’ve never seen convincing evidence for that. I simply see that increasing age requires increasing maintenance since our parts (Cells and organs) and code (DNA) get old. In otherwords you could say,

You are only as old as the lifestyle you live.

There is increasing evidence that Age-related cognitive decline is linked to the energy available to synapses in the prefrontal cortex. The study’s senior author, John Morrison, PhD explains this more clearly

“We are increasingly convinced that maintenance of synaptic health as we age, rather than rescuing cognition later, is critically important in preventing age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease,”

So the experts are finding that our brain structures don’t die off as much as we thought. The real problem is that the brain needs energy to keep its traffic flowing because neurons need energy to transfer signals and as people age their modern lifestyles lead them to become inefficient in accessing their available energy stores. The result being that less energy is made available to support brain traffic.

The authors sum up the finding neatly

Working memory requires the energy-demanding activation of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex through the complex arrangement of the synapses that interconnect nerve cells.

In short. Synapses need lots of energy to work properly. Without that energy they start to fail.

If you have been following this blog you may start to understand why I believe that the health of our bodies reflects an energy economy. Financial economies suffer when money flows slowly. Cashflow is everything and individual businesses fail simply because cash flow isn’t handled properly.

In the same vain life is all about energy flow and individual humans suffer problems when they manage their energy poorly.

The best way to fix problems like this is to be more active. With the mind you need both physical and mental activity. The reason is simple. Your brain loses functionality because it can’t tap into the energy resources around it. This happens primarily because you don’t use your brain enough and so it hasn’t kept up its sharpness. It’s literally become unfit. So you have to train it by using it.

Over time the parts that were slack are forced to get back up to speed. It’s obviously much more technical than that but that is what ultimately why the term use it or lose it was coined.

Summary

That is a quick introduction to some of the amazing research I have discovered and a little taster of the benefits being active both mentally, physically can bring. There are more links in the related articles below that take this investigation even further and lots more information on fit2thrive.co.uk.

Get in touch

If you want to know more about taking care of your mind, body and spirit then get in touch at colin@fit2thrive.co.uk where I provided the most fun healthy lifestyle plans and advice that you will find. I look forwarded to seeing your over there.

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