by Michael Cohen, Director
Center for Brain
No one disputes that exercising your brain is a great way to keep it healthy and functioning into old age, but did you know that exercising your body is just as important?The results of a 12-year study published earlier this year in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, showed that people who did little to no exercise (gardening, yoga) experienced a decline of 10 or more years in their memory abilities compared to people who did moderate to heavy exercise (running, aerobics).
The researchers followed 876 people enrolled in the Northern Manhattan Study, who were an average of 71 years old when the study began. They were tested at the start of the study, at the five-year mark and again at the 12-year mark for such skills as how fast they could perform simple tasks and how many words they could recall from a list.
“Our study showed that for older people, getting regular exercise may be protective, helping them keep their cognitive abilities longer,” said study co-author Clinton B. Wright, M.D., M.S., associate professor of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, which collaborated in the study with Columbia University.
Physical Activity an “Attractive Option”
He added that as the U.S. over 65-population grows, physical activity is “an attractive option to reduce the burden of cognitive impairment in public health because it is low cost and doesn’t interfere with medications.”
These results added to a growing body of evidence that brain health is more than just the luck of the genetic draw. A December 2015 study from Boston University of young adults demonstrated that aerobic exercise increased blood circulation to the area of the brain responsible for memory, the entorhinal cortex.
The Neurofeedback Component
In addition to improving blood circulation, it’s important to keep the neurons in the brain in tip-top shape by exercising them right along with the body. Among things to do such as reading and learning something new is neurofeedback – the core of what we do at Center for Brain.
Neurofeedback uses technology to harness the brain’s neuroplasticity – its ability to change itself – in order to train the brain to function optimally. When the brain is working optimally, attention, mood, learning and memory all improve – even in older adults.
Research has shown that throughout life – including into old age – the brain continues to adapt and adjust as it confronts new experiences, acquires fresh knowledge and is exposed to varying sensory input. Different neurons fire, the number of synapses increases and the brain gets “re-mapped.”
At Center for Brain we employ neurofeedback to train the brain into healthier, more functional patterns. It helps the brain adjust its timing and strengthen connectivity between the different parts of the brain.
To find out how we might be able to help you improve or conserve your memory and cognitive function, contact the Center for Brain Training for a consultation.