For those who don’t know my grandmother, Lizzie Dawson, ultimately passed away as a result of Alzheimer’s Disease. Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, studies are showing that exercising may prevent Alzheimer’s as well as dementia.
In John Ratey’s book, “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain,” Ratey explains how exercise keeps the brain young. When you participate in aerobic exercise such as running, it increases a protein called BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor). Aerobic exercise also increases HGH (Human Growth Hormone). As a result of the increase of this protein and hormone, studies are showing that aerobic exercise can literally keep your brain young.
Aerobic exercise will also stimulate you when you are feeling down. Because of these findings, it is seen (more so outside of the US) that doctors are prescribing exercise for patients who are suffering from depression.
Here’s the key. It’s all about the amount of effort you put into the aerobic activity. To find your maximum heart rate subtract your age from 220. For 30 minutes a day, 4 – 5 times a week you should be working out at roughly 60-65% of your maximum heart rate. You’ll need a heart rate monitor but not only will you brain get a workout, you’ll also burn fat.