Exercise

OVERALL BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

  • New brain cell development
  • Improved memory
  • Elevated mood
  • Improved appetite and sleep
  • Weight-control
  • Disease prevention
  • Increased energy
  • Reduced risk of falls
  • Socialization

CARDIOVASCULAR (AEROBIC) EXERCISE

  • Benefits
    • More efficient heart and lungs
    • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
    • Increased levels of good cholesterol
    • Improved blood vessel health including in the brain
  • Recommendation
    • Engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days per week OR 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity three days per week.
  • Strategies
    • Start slow, with light-to-medium effort and gradually increase pace and workout length.
    • Consult a target heart rate chart to maximize the benefits of cardiovascular exercise.
    • Move more and sit less. Any rhythmic, continuous physical activity that elevates the heart rate provides benefit, including:
      • Walking (including outside, indoors, or in a pool)
      • Biking (including recumbent bike)
      • Swimming
      • Dancing
      • Boxing
    • Warm up and cool down at an easy pace.

STRENGTH TRAINING

  • Benefits:
    • Increased blood flow and oxygen to muscles, improving their efficiency
    • Improved communication between the muscles and the brain
    •  Improved range of motion of joints
    • Potential decrease in pain associated with arthritis
    • Increased bone density, lessening the risk of osteoporosis
    • Increased ease in performing activities of daily life such as carrying groceries and doing yardwork
    • Weight-control
    • Improved balance and reduced risk of falls
  • Recommendation
    • Perform 8-12 repetitions and 2-3 sets of each weight-lifting exercise.
    • Perform 8-10 different weightlifting exercises using major muscle groups 2-3 nonconsecutive days a week.
  • Strategies
    • Hand weights, resistance bands, machines, and the body weight itself can be used for strength training. Simple household items work as well, such as a jug of milk or a can of soup.
    • The amount of weight to lift is correct if the last couple repetitions become tiresome.
    • If 1 is the easiest effort and 10 is the most effort a person can give, strive for an 8.
    • Avoid straining or holding one’s breath when lifting weights.
    • Lift and lower the weight in a controlled manner.
    • Consult a certified professional for instructions on correct body mechanics and breathing.

FLEXIBILITY

  • Benefits:
    • Reduced chance of getting injured when doing physical activities
    • Reduced aches and pains in the muscles
    • Improved posture and balance
    • Provides relaxation
  • Recommendation:
    • Stretch the muscle group to the point of tightness, hold for 10-30 seconds, and release.
    • All muscle groups should be stretched a minimum of twice a week.
    • After stretching, gently move joints through a full range of motion.
  • Strategies
    • Engage in a light warm-up activity such as walking or arm circles to heat the muscle groups. Do not stretch a cold, tight muscle.
    • Hold the stretch steady; do not “bounce” the stretch.
    • Stretching should not be painful.
    •  Do everything in moderation; overstretched, weak muscles increase the risk of injury. Flexibility and strengthening go hand-in-hand.
    • Seek assistance from a certified professional for guidance on a flexibility program.

STRATEGIES FOR A SUCCESSFUL EXERCISE PROGRAM

  • If there are health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and/or others, consult a physician before starting an exercise program.
  • Stop exercising if chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, faintness, or nausea occur. Consult a physician before resuming the exercise program.
  • Set realistic goals and once met, provide a reward for success. Then set a new goal!
  • Find an exercise buddy who will be an accountability partner. Making it social and fun helps with commitment!
  • Dress appropriately for the exercise and for the climate.
  • Hydrate well before and after exercise.
  • Choose enjoyable activities.
  • Do any outdoor activities during cooler times of day.
  • Put the exercise plan in writing and keep it visible.

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