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Giddy Quotes Dr. Williams: Get Your Body Moving, For Your Brain's Sake


You know (or at least, you hope) that hitting the gym on a regular basis can help deliver the physical appearance you want. After all, exercising is associated with improved muscle strength and tone, weight loss and maintenance, and better all-around physicality. Additionally, it's no secret regular exercise is associated with better heart health and lower risks of diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis and some cancers, too.

However, what should be shouted from the rooftops is how incredible exercising can be for brain health. Engaging in exercise on a regular basis can improve mental health, reduce age-related declines in cognition and stave off symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. If you've been waiting around for a magic pill to boost your brain function, it may be time to free your sneakers from their hidey-hole and put them to good use.

How it works

One way that exercise and brain function are linked is also the reason exercise is good for your cardiovascular system: It causes your heart to pump harder and your lungs to intake more oxygen. This increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to your brain can help "wake you up" and stimulate the release of health-supporting hormones and chemicals in your brain.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"Exercise can improve brain health in myriad ways," said Ryan Glatt, a fellow of Applied Functional Science and a personal trainer. Glatt is also a brain health coach for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

"It can improve brain health at the micro-level by improving neurotransmitter health, facilitating new connections between brain cells and increasing the number of blood vessels," he added. "At a macro-level, exercise can improve brain blood flow, improve the efficiency of brain activity, and increase or maintain the volume of the brain and certain subregions on the brain, such as the hippocampus, or the memory centers of the brain."

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