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Your brain On exercise

Combatting cognitive decline

We all know that regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It can add years to your life, help you lose weight, boost your mood, improve your sleep and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

And now we know that exercise is also an important part of keeping your brain healthy, too. That’s right, exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills and can help prevent cognitive decline as we age.

This science-backed conclusion comes at a critical time. Currently, there are over a half million Canadians living with dementia, with about 25,000 new cases diagnosed every year.

What happens to your brain during exercise?

As your heart rate increases during exercise, blood flow to the brain increases. Increased blood flow exposes your brain to more oxygen and nutrients.

Exercise also induces the release of beneficial proteins in the brain. These nourishing proteins keep brain cells (also known as neurons) healthy and promote the growth of new neurons. These neurons are the building blocks of the brain and help buffer against the effects of dementia.

Regular exercise is key

According to experts, the recommended amount of exercise to keep your mind sharp is about 150 minutes per week. Studies have found that just two and a half hours a week of exercise makes you 40 per cent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who are inactive.

Keep Your Brain Young

Exercise is the number one lifestyle change that can help people prevent aging and cognitive decline.

As we enter a new year, you can turn back time on your aging brain by committing to a consistent exercise plan. Let’s make 2020 the year of a healthy body and a healthy brain.

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