Some things I would like to remember. Other things, not so much. The worst jobs I’ve ever had? I could forget those. Getting locked out of my apartment and having to crawl up a drainpipe at 2am? Yep, that can go too. An accident I had in my brand new car? Forget that. However, I want to always remember the first time I felt proud of my achievements and realized that was my new normal. I want to remember the smell of Spring flowers, and going to the beach. I want to remember some people.
Aerobic exercise can help. Getting-your-heart-rate-up-to-80%-of-capacity exercise. Studies done in 1990, according to the National Academy of Sciences, support the idea of exercise increasing brain function, specifically in the hippocampus, the memory center and possible stress regulator.
It isn’t just any exercise: it’s aerobic and for added impact, new and novel. Running a track or a set path isn’t the same as running an outdoor path, maybe in the hills, over uneven ground. The brain gets bored with repetition; it likes novelty. It likes to play. Having to solve problems along the way increases brain function. Running a repetitive track is predictable, although it does increase new neurons in the hippocampus. Even more are produced with novelty.
In addition, it changes the structure of the hippocampal volume and vasculature. Brain plasticity plays a part in this. The brain is always changing, based on the information it receives. If it produces more neurons and supporting dendrites, from aerobic exercise, that may impact the onset of Alzheimer’s, and depression, which seem to go together.
Lifestyle, genetics, and physiology factor in exercise effects, but people who move more have a fighting chance of delaying Alzheimer’s, maybe until after death. That’s when I would like to get Alzheimer’s or any dementia…after death!
That’s Aging Intelligently.