Recently I’ve become more and more interested in the brain. Now I’m not a neuroscientist nor do I ever plan to be, but praise the Lord for all of the people out there that dedicate their lives to this research so I can hop online and learn about this stuff while dodging the years of studying and mental breakdowns through college.
If you read my last blog post you would know that it was all about how our brains constantly need exercise just like our bodies. If you didn’t read my last blog post, what are you doing with your life? Anyways, I said that we can’t do curls or squats for our brain but we can exercise our brain in different ways. I am going to have to take that back. We can do squats for our brains, and curls, and sprints, and box jumps, and bench press; we can even do muscle ups for our brains. I’m not talking hypothetically either.
Recently there have been studies proving that exercise actually prevents your brain from shrinking with age. One of these studies took about 1,100 people around 40 years old and tested their VO2 max and did MRI scans on their brains.
- VO2 max: The maximum amount of oxygen ones body can use in one minute
- MRI: A scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create a detailed picture of organs and tissues in the body
They did the same tests 20 years later when they were around 60 years old. They found that the people with the lower VO2 maxes had more brain shrinkage with aging. In this study for every 8 mL/ kg/ min lower estimated VO2 max brain aging increases by one year. Now one year might not sound like a whole lot but when it starts adding up that is a pretty significant increase in aging. I don’t know about you guys but I would like to stay as young as possible for as long as possible.
Not only does exercise keep our brains maintain their size but It has been proven to prevent plaque build up in our brains which leads to memory loss and eventually Alzheimer’s disease. Different studies are constantly proving that exercise and a balanced diet can prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There was a study of 44 adults from 40 years old to 85 years old showing signs of mild memory changes that had scans done to measure the number of sticky plaques and tangles in their brains along with a BMI (Body Mass Index) tests. The study shows that the people with the lower BMI, regular exercise and a healthier diet had one to three percent fewer plaques and tangles in their brains. One to three percent again doesn’t sound like much but that’s a big enough decrease to prevent onset dementia, which is kind of insane.
If moving a little bit more and making sure I get a sufficient amount of micronutrients every day is the difference between a nursing home and a nice house on the lake and golf with my friends in 60 years I will gladly put in the extra effort. Like I’ve said before, our brain needs exercise as much as our bodies. So go move around and keep learning. Let’s keep our brains as young, buff, and healthy as our bodies.
Blue Skies and Tail Winds,
Sierra (AKA: Little Miss Gains)