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Exercise for Brain Health


Many of the benefits of exercise are well known – it helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Exercise helps with weight control, lowers blood pressure, prevents depression, and improves arthritis symptoms,

among many others. Blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard it all before, right?

But did you also know about this HUGE benefit? Exercise protects against the loss of memory and thinking skills.

Aerobic (cardio) exercise raises the heart rate and increases blood flow – including to the brain. With the increased breathing that often goes along with exercise, more oxygen is introduced into the bloodstream and delivered to the brain. This encourages the growth of brain volume, and the growth and survival of new blood vessels. This growth is believed to protect against the effects of memory loss and dementia.

Exercise improves sleep, (yes, please) reduces stress and anxiety (any and all help welcome!) and boosts production of hormones which contribute to information processing and improved mood (thank you very much!).

So, not only will exercise keep you young physically, it also helps keep you young cognitively.

It’s never too late to begin.

Choose any exercise that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping. The recommendation is 150 minutes per week, but if that seems overwhelming, start slower. Try for 20 minutes, 5 times a week. Gradually work your way up. Remember (get it?), it’s better to do something, rather than nothing.

Let me know if I can help!


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Karen Marcouiller

Personal Trainer and Health Coach

National Sports and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

American Council on Exercise (ACE)

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