How many benefits of exercise can you name? For most people, their motivation to exercise involves looking a certain way or increasing their level of physical fitness. One of the lesser-known benefits of exercise is that it’s also good for your brain!
Memory loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including nutritional deficits, some medications, and diseases like Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, most of these causes are not permanent, and the effects can be alleviated through physical therapy.
Studies have shown that people who are physically active are more likely to have healthier brain function, even at the geriatric age. Something as simple as a twenty-minute walk increases blood flow and oxygen to your brain, thus decreasing the rate of cognitive decline. Your brain, despite weighing only three pounds on average, receives roughly 15% of your blood flow.
Here are three more detailed ways that physical therapy or regular exercise can help with memory loss and why you should start today.
1. Exercise Reduces the Risk of Disorders That Lead to Memory Loss
There is a known connection between heart disease, which is often associated with poor circulation or high and low blood pressure, and memory loss. Exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and helps the heart to pump blood, carrying nutrients and oxygen, to the brain. This has a direct effect on your brain’s health and increases its ability to repair itself.
2. Exercise Improves Sleep Quality and Reduces Stress
Another known cause of memory loss and poor cognitive function is stress. Stress often leads to long nights of worrying, which in turn leads to poor sleep.
Although regular exercise won’t always prevent or eliminate our problems, it will lead to the release of happiness hormones and endorphins in our brain that can improve the way we handle stress or how easily we’re affected by it. In order to effectively use exercise to reduce stress, however, it’s important to choose an activity that we enjoy rather than one we’re forcing ourselves to do.
Chances are, physical exertion will also lead to a faster and deeper sleep.
3. The Brain is Also Active During Physical Activity
Every time you move, your brain sends signals through your nervous system to coordinate those movements. Your brain works hard to control muscles, maintain balance, and count repetitions as you exercise. By keeping your body physically active, you’re also working out your brain!
If you’re new to exercise or are struggling with severe memory loss, physical therapists and personal trainers can be a valuable asset. They are trained to help you find exercises you can safely perform, challenge you to grow stronger, and help you learn proper technique. Not everyone may have access to physical therapy, or they may already feel confident in exercising on their own without the assistance of a personal trainer. For those people, websites can also help people get started with their at-home physical therapy regime. Luckily, the equipment found in gyms, rehabilitation and physical therapy centers, and chiropractors can also be purchased online!