Diet and exercise
Exercise, Cardiovascular Health, And Your Brain – Key Connections to Know When you think about heart health, two things often come to mind: eating a diet that’s lower in saturated fat and participating in cardiovascular exercise. If you take steps to get both of these into place, you can rest assured you should have a healthier heart and be able to ward off conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
But, one connection that far too many people often overlook that comes out as an added benefit for boosting your cardiovascular health through smart nutrition strategies and a regular exercise program is the improved brain health you’ll get as well.
One study published in the Trends in Neurosciences journal found just that. The researchers conducting the study noted that exercise targets many aspects of brain function including learning and memory, protection from neurodegeneration, and reduced feelings of depression.
They also noted that exercise reduces other additional peripheral risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, which can converge to cause brain dysfunction and neurodegeneration.
Yet, many people completely overlook the brain benefits that exercise provides.
Let’s look at this connection a little further so that you can fully come to understand it.
How Exercise Helps
When it comes to the benefits of exercise, the list is almost too long to list. Most people realize the normally stated benefits of exercise – improved fat burning, enhanced muscle strength, increased bone density, and lower risk of diabetes, but they overlook some other critical benefits that deserve your attention. First, regular exercise will help to boost the synaptic plasticity of the brain by strengthening the underlying systems that support plasticity including neurogenesis, metabolism and ventricular function, as noted in the Trends in Neurosciences study.
In another study published in the Nature Reviews Neuroscience journal, researchers also studied the benefits of aerobic exercise on brain function and noted that it improved cognition along with mental performance, especially when combined with a positive mind-boosting product such as Mind Milq They concluded by saying that exercise is a lifestyle factor that might lead to increased physical and mental health throughout life. Essentially, exercise now for better brain health down the road.
By participating in a regular workout program, you will not only enhance your cardiovascular health, but also reduce the risk of mind related disorders such as dementia and other related cognitive impairments (Abreu, BC. Et al).
Regular exercise is also going to go a long way towards improving your ability to reduce stress that you experience, which then boosts brain and cardiovascular health.
Chronically high levels of stress are linked to both depression as well as poor memory, as was noted in the Trends In Neurosciences journal.
This lower level of stress can also put you in a more positive mood, enhancing your overall quality of life.
The Type Of Exercise To Perform
So now that you can see the benefits exercise has on brain health, which type of exercise is best? What will offer you the most benefit? When it comes to exercise selection, remember that anything that gets you up and moving will provide benefits. Strength training for instance, is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise you could do to support all-around health and will still offer all these positive mind enhancing benefits.
Don’t shy away from any particular form of exercise, if it gets your heart rate up, you can count on it providing benefits. So there you have the information you need to know about the powerful connection between exercise, cardiovascular disease, and mental health. By taking steps to get on a regular exercise program, you will really enhance your total health and well-being.
Abreau, BC. Et al. (2004). The effects of exercise training on elderly persons with cognitive impairment and dementia: A meta-analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Vol. 85, Issue 10. Pp. 1694-1704.
Berchtold, N.C. et al. (2007). Corrigendum: Exercise builds brain health: key roles of growth factor cascades and inflammation: Trends in Neurosciences 30 (2007) 9, 464-472.
Joels, M. et al. (1999). Stress and cognition: are corticosteroids good or bad guys? Trends in Neurosciences. Vol. 22, Issue 10. Pp. 443-426.
Kramer, A.F. et al. (2008).Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9, 58-65.
Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.
She is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com and has also been named ‘Writer Of The Year’ two times running. She has been featured in the Iron Man magazine and has contributed well over 400 articles to a variety of different websites dedicated towards muscle building and athletic performance.
Shannon has spent the better part of her adult years researching and studying the top methods to build lean muscle as well as achieve maximum states of leanness. She currently works with a variety of different clients with various goal sets, helping them reach whatever physique goals they have set for themselves. Finally, amongst all her research she’s also made a test subject of herself trying out many of the different training and diet techniques she’s come across. From Ketogenic diets to Intermittent Fasting protocols, she’s always anxious to find out what type of results the latest protocols will deliver. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, experimenting with new recipes, weight lifting, and hiking. For more about her, you can find her at ShannonClarkfitnesswriter.com and 20MinuteBodyMakeOver.com.