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Exercise and Cognition

Exercise and Cognition


Author Yusra Khan by

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Typically, if one truly needs to ponder why they should exercise regularly, the most well-known benefits pop into mind: maintaining a healthy weight and reduced risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. What many do not immediately consider, however, is the effect of daily exercise on cognitive ability.

For many, with old old age comes what many call “foggy memory”. A simple way to protect cognitive skills and memory, however, is aerobic exercise- the type of physical fitness that conditions the heart. According to an article by Harvard Medical School, aerobic exercise- such as hiking, walking, swimming, biking, and running- has been seen to increase the brain’s hippocampus, the section responsible for creating and retaining short and long-term memory, and learning. This finding, a result of a study done at the University of Columbia, could prove critical for those suffering from dementia, a disease characterized by a decline in memory and learning, amongst other skills.

Directly, exercise improved learning and memory in that it reduces inflammation, reduces insulin resistance, and also contributes to the production of growth factors, which improve the health of brain cells and stimulates the production of new blood vessels in the brain. Exercise has several indirect impacts, such as healthier sleep patterns, along with reduced anxiety and stress.

Though it may seem intimidating, establishing a regular exercise routine may prove to be surprisingly simple and achievable. There’s a wide variety of aerobic exercises to choose from- the question is, simply, which works best for you?

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