Guess what? Much of the overall physical and mental decline we experience between the ages of 30 and 70 has more to do with sedentary lifestyle than with the aging process. Exercise slows the deterioration of a host of bodily systems. It helps reverse impairments in sleep, sexual and cognitive functions, as well as loss of muscle mass and bone strength.
Exercise also has a dramatic effect on the brain. It’s dismaying to learn that the human brain begins to lose tissue early in the third decade of life. This loss of tissue is closely related to declines in cognitive performance. Excercise to the rescue! Aerobic exercise has been found to boost cognitive ability by stimulating physiological changes the brain. Many studies show similar results, suggesting that better cardiovascular fitness will produce a brain that is more stable and adaptive to change. Exercise can also boost moods and relieve mild symptoms of depression.
Aim for 30 minutes of at least moderate physical activity on most days. Once you get in the habit push the bar a little higher — 60 – 90 minutes a activity most days is optimum. If you’re having an especially bad day, take a walk. This “brain workout” will do wonders for your body, and you’ll be surprised by how much better you feel emotionally!