The weather’s getting warmer, the flowers are blooming, and the air is thick with the smell of spring. Do you need another good reason to go for a walk outside today? Well here’s another: research shows that staying physically active keeps us mentally sharp as we age.
When we are strolling along, our heart pumps strongly and our blood vessels get essentially flushed with fresh blood. This keeps our circulatory system healthy, but it also has a great effect on your brain. There are many blood vessels in and around the brain, supplying the hungry nerve cells with oxygen and nutrients. When our circulatory system is working well, our brain gets plenty of blood, keeping the brain cells working properly. In fact, some of the research suggests that exercise may actually help create new neural connections. If the brain does not get enough blood, it can lead to dizziness, fainting, and possibly a stroke.
What is the best way to make sure your brain always has plenty of blood? Exercise for around the same amount of time every day. For seniors who maintained or increased their exercise levels, their doctors noticed little mental decline over a three-month period. However, if a senior decreased his level of activity by a mere hour a day, mental decline increased as much as 30%.
So go for a walk, hop on a bike, or tend to your garden today. Your brain will thank you for it.