Exercise is good for your brain

by Jay Hiller, September 20, 2022

Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash

On the way home from the hairdresser’s I listened to the first 20 minutes of episode 226 of The Proof podcast with Simon Hill. His guests were Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai and the topic was the benefits of exercise on cognition. It was an interesting podcast for me to listen to after exchanging a few emails with my father-in-law today. He still lives independently in his 90’s. He’s an avid bowler and a consistent walker and hiker. The podcast also reminded me that I learned a little about this when I was studying for a senior exercise specialist certification from the American Council on Exercise.

What did I learn?

Here are just a few interesting facts I learned from that course:

  • 52 hours of exercise leads to improvements in executive function and processing speed regardless of modality.
  • 80% of the brain’s gray matter is modifiable by physical activity
  • Exercise modalities that require thought, such as dance, sports, martial arts, yoga have a stronger effect on cognition than exercises that are less engaging cognitively such as cardio exercise machines and basic weight machines. These are helpful but exercises that requires you to think are better. If like me, you hate 3 out of 4 of the modalities above, there are work arounds. They can be as simple as holding a squat and playing catch with someone while they give you simple math problems to solve.

Don’t take my word for it:

This is a really good podcast episode. I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of it and getting some ideas for strengthening my own brain health. The link is below:

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