Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Exercise Benefits Brain Function as We Age

In the study above, researchers found that Seniors who both rode a stationary bike and  played a racing game demonstrated improvement in their overall executive function on testing as compared with riding the  bike alone.  This type of synergistic activity in the study reduced progression of mild cognitive impairment by 23%.

Here is a paragraph from our book  Smart at Heart where we discuss the cognitive benefits of exercise:

Multiple studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have a reduced risk of Alzheimer's and other cognitive disorders, and othere studies have determine that aerobic exercise enhances memore and brain function.  Wanting to investigate the effect of resistance training, researchers at the University of British Columbia put 106 women, ages sixty-five to seventy-five, on a strength-training program either once or twice a week for thirty-minute sessions.  The eight-move program included exercises for the major muscle groups, like leg presses, bicep curls, and hamstring curls.  After a year, both groups improved their cognitive function (the ability to reason, organize, and decide) by 10-12 percent, while a control group, which did balance and tone training (read: not as intense exercsie) lost 0.5 percent of their cognitive function.* I find this study to be very exciting; as little as thirty minutes weekly of resistance training doesn't just make your body stronger- it makes your mind stronger too. 
So my take is that it is never to late to start exercising. Even a little bit has a huge impact on your overall health.  Here are just a few benefits:  You'll have a longer life, you will build a stronger less disease-prone heart, you will enjoy better quality of life, you are likely to be leaner than if you don't exercise which means less risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, degenerative joint disease and the many other health issues associated with being overweight. 

*T. Liu-Ambrose, et al., "Resistance Training and Executive Functions:  A 12-Month Randomized Controled Trial," Archives of Internal Medicine 170, no 2 (2010: 170-78)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get fit on a budget...In winter!

Living in Massachusetts, I am no stranger to cold weather and long dark days!
Last year I received a Jillian Michaels DVD for a Christmas gift and really switched it up.
Her approach to fitness, in your own home, at your own pace is right on!
Most everyone has a DVD player or computer with internet access.
Having an inspirational trainer like JM right in your living room is a great way to get started- on a shoestring.
And for those of you who complain that they just don't have time to work out....Come on ...Everyone has 20 minutes a day they can spend getting fit....Long term benefits are reduced weight , better sleep, less risk of diabetes and heart disease...