If you think about it, the brain is probably the most exhausted organ in our physical body. It never rests. Ever since it was formed while we were still inside the womb, our brains have been functioning and continue to function until life runs out on us. Hence, the tendency of the brain to slow down as we age is not quite a complicated question, is it?
According to research statistics, one in every eight Americans aged 65 and above is affected with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, every 68 seconds another American develops the disease. With the significant rising of incidences, experts estimate that a number somewhere near 16 million Americans will be affected with this disease by the year 2050. Alarmingly, between 2000 and 2008, deaths related to Alzheimer’s increased by 66%.
Alzheimer’s disease is only one among the cognitive conditions that aging brains are at risk for developing. But in general, these health risks are highly dangerous and, according to research, are not preventable. There are, however, ways that lower the odds of developing them.
Avoid Physical Body And Brain Decline
Researchers have successfully identified five functions of the brain that significantly decline as it ages, and are as follows:
- Keeping and retrieving of memories
- Ability to make inferences and conclusions
- Comprehension of complex texts
- Functions that require attention
- Memory or information processing
Feed Your Physical Body And Brain With Power
Staying healthy helps brain stay fit despite the normal aging process. But how does one stay fit?
- Choose your food wisely. Just as not everything is edible, not all foods are healthy for eating. Know which ones should be avoided too.
- Emotional stress is one that can deteriorate brain function. Never let stress, of any form for that matter, get you.
- Exercise regularly. Your body and your brain are interconnected to each other in many ways beyond what your eyes see and your other senses feel. Just as exercise is important and healthy to the body, so is it to your brain.
How Does Exercise Protect The Brain?
Keeping a healthy diet and steering clear from emotional stress may no longer be new to the ears. We all know that the food we eat creates a huge impact on our health. The vitamins, nutrients and toxins we get from food are all absorbed by the body. Eating the right foods are important in feeding our brain the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
Even without an aging brain, we are well aware how stress deteriorates the brain. How does this happen? When you are stressed, your brain sends signals to the body; the “fight or flight response”. This alerts your body to process a series of events to be able to cope up with stress. The adrenal and pituitary glands pump increased levels of adrenaline, cortisol, and dopamine into the bloodstream. This reaction is normal as being the body’s method to cope. However, exposure to frequent surge of these biochemicals, Cortisol in particular, can cause undesirable effect on both the brain and the body.
To get to the last point, how can physical exercise keep the brain healthy? Recent studies have shown that brain function is equivalent to brain size. With this being said, brain shrinkage or atrophy has been largely linked with the decline of cognitive functions such as thinking and memory. In addition, physical exercise has been found to create a positive impact on the changes in the brain. In addition, it has also been found that it benefits the brain more to do activities that are mentally stimulating. Because of these new findings, it is believed, but not confirmed, that people who have showed less deterioration in brain function are more likely to be active.
Other Positive Physical Effects Give The Brain May Include:
- Stimulation of neurogenesis or the creation of new brain cells. As normal part of aging, the stem cells responsible for neurogenesis become less active and result to the decline in the production of new brain cells. This may account to the decline of brain function.
- Stimulation of new brain cells to incorporate themselves in existing neural networks. Because of this, the neural networks are strengthened.
- Regulation in the production of brain chemicals necessary in maintaining memory and overall cognitive function.
- Neutralization of the effects of stress by boosting the neurotransmitters.
- Improvement of insulin sensitivity.
Exercise And Allow Your Physical Body And Brain To Get Old Gracefully
Aging is a normal phase in life that fortunate people go through before life escapes from them. It is best to embrace aging rather than making futile efforts in staying away from it. It can never be prevented unless life is ended before it even comes. Just keep your mind healthy and being old won’t be such a worry.