Exercise for a Healthy Brain
Exercise is not only good for your physical body, but it’s also great for your mental health. It is so important to get exercise every day, especially if you have Alzheimer’s. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, creates new neurons, and builds mental, as well as physical resilience.
In studies, it has been shown that daily exercise can improve your cognitive score, increase hippocampal volume, and produce better spatial memory. Walking is great for movement, but walking alone is not enough to produce all the benefits of exercise you need. Ideally, you would want to combine the following 4 types of exercise into your routine. You will see how some of these exercises overlap and can be combined for added benefits.
Four Types of Exercise for a Healthy Brain
This type of exercise is great for cardiovascular conditioning. Getting your heart rate up is not only good for your heart, but it is also good for your brain. Increasing your heart rate provides more oxygen and blood flow to the brain. The goal with aerobic exercise is to work out at least 200 minutes per week, at 75% – 85% of your maximum safe heart rate.
Aerobic Exercise Examples:
This type of exercise is muscle building. You want to do this safely with a trainer or a coach. Strength training is the contraction of your muscles against an opposing force. The goal of this type of exercise is to keep you mobile and independent while reducing fall risk — as you increase your strength, you are less likely to fall. Also, strength training improves bone health by putting a little stress on the bone, which helps you stay strong and healthy.
Strength Training Examples:
This type of exercise consists of working out your brain while working out your body. Movement combined with cognitive and physical interventions has been shown to have positive effects on people who are experiencing both early stages of Alzheimer’s or late stages. It doesn’t matter where you are in your progression — this type of exercise has a beneficial effect on your activities for daily living.
This type of exercise doesn’t take more time to do, but it does take more effort. The reward is greater, however. The goal for Cognitive-Physical exercise is to do a brain-stimulating activity while you are doing an aerobic or strength training exercise.
Examples of Cognitive Physical Exercises:
- Yoga or Pilates
- Talking a walk and have your grandchild quiz you
- Doing an exercise while reciting the 50 states
Contrast Oxygen Therapy (O2)
Getting exercise with oxygen therapy (EWOT) is a form of exercise that consists of breathing in oxygen the whole time you’re doing physical activity. The company LiveO2 produces a machine with an oxygen reservoir and mask that you can wear while you are stationary biking, or on a treadmill. Combining the aerobic movement with oxygen is beneficial.
You can take it a step further and you can do Adaptive Contrast Oxygen. While you’re connected to LiveO2 you can switch between positive and negative oxygen. The goal of Adaptive Contrast Oxygen therapy is switching back and forth between positive and negative oxygen to increase your ability to utilize oxygen. When you are breathing in negative oxygen you feel constricted. This causes your blood vessels to widen. Then when you switch to positive oxygen your blood vessels are that much bigger to absorb more oxygen. This creates resilience in your body by having this contrast. It also, increased tissue perfusion, senescent cells retire, and there is a hormetic effect.
Learn more about LiveO2 here: https://liveo2.com/
We know exercising can be challenging at times, and finding motivation is difficult. We always encourage you to reach out to Solcere if you need extra support. We would love to give you more information on how one of our Health Coaches can support you and help you navigate new lifestyle changes.