According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can prevent memory loss. Research indicates that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental functioning; have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease; and possibly have improved thinking among those with vascular cognitive impairment.
Exercising several times a week for 30 to 60 minutes may:
Physical activity seems to help the brain not only by keeping the blood flowing, but also by increasing chemicals that protect the brain. Remaining active also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occurs with aging.
For many decades, I have been exercising almost every day of the week—swimming and working out on machines at a nearby gymnasium. However, my favorite exercise is walking on well-kept trails in an area close to where I live. To my delight, I often see lizards running across the path in front of me. While walking, I spot numerous birds in the trees and hear their beautiful singing. I am certain such exercising maintains my muscle and body strength, helps me sleep better at night, and contributes to my good health.
More research is needed to know exactly to what degree adding physical activity improves memory or slows the progress of cognitive decline. Nonetheless, regular exercise is important to stay physically and mentally fit. Notably, workouts needn’t be done alone. Walking, especially, is an exercise easily shared: a parent may walk with a child, either in a stroller or strapped on the back, and couples and groups can all enjoy the outdoors together.
Dear reader, to what degree is exercise important to you? If you do exercise, which workouts are your favorites, and what benefits do you derive from them?