Everyone knows what physical activity and exercise does to your body. It helps you lessen fat stores and lose weight, as well as increasing muscle mass. This is what people go to the gym for, what they go on runs for, what they get on the stairmaster for – no matter how badly they don’t want to take another step on that infernal machine. However, the positive effect of physical activity on your brain’s structure and health for the entirety of your life cannot be understated. 

The UK Alzheimer’s Society has published that maintaining regular physical activity is the best thing that you can do to reduce your risk of suffering from dementia later in your life. Studies show that exercise prevents the shrinking of different sections of the brain, as well as inhibiting total brain volume loss. Later in life, this shrinking or loss in volume can affect the areas of your brain that deal with functions like memory. In fact, it’s shown that physical activity will increase brain volume in older individuals. This study shows that just walking on a regular basis can reverse shrinking of the hippocampus, a structure in the brain that plays a major role in learning and memory.

Another facet in the relationship between physical activity and brain health is that regular exercise promotes the growth of new blood vessels, specifically in the regions of the brain where neurogenesis occurs. The Queensland Brain Institute states that “neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain”. This process of neurogenesis occurs mainly in the hippocampus, so there’s a relationship between neurogenesis and learning and memory. This increase in blood vessel growth in these areas ensures that blood is constantly supplied to the brain and promotes neurogenesis. 

The CDC shows that regular physical activity – at least two and a half hour per week for an adult – will keep you at a healthy weight on the surface, but below the surface, it will lower your blood pressure. Preventing high blood pressure, also called hypertension, will dramatically lower your risk for heart disease, a stroke, or the onset of dementia. 

You can try out our supplements to help keep you healthy with BodyK’s Acumen to support focus, learning, and memory or with Pycnogenol to combat aging. Another service we have available here at BodyK is our Wellness Coaching which will provide you with different ways to improve your health after a brief consult.