Tuesday Tips for Caregivers ~ Exercise is Good for Your Brain

Tuesday Tips for Caregivers ~ Exercise is Good for Your Brain

Exercise is Good for the Brain

In a recently published article in the prestigious journal Science, researchers at the University of Oklahoma have discovered a bodily process induced by exercise that keeps young mice’s brains healthy (Ansere and Freeman 2020).[1] This is a great finding, since a lot of research has backed up exercise as a brain-protecting and “health-enhancing” activity.

This study comes in the context of an increasing aging population that is bound to have significant economic and social effects across the world. According to the United Nations, the population aged over 65 is growing faster than all other age groups. Specifically, by 2050 one in six people will be over the age 65.[2] With aging comes a host of health-related concerns that will need to be addressed by families and medical institutions, worldwide. Thus, one pertinent question to this process is how can we prevent age-related problems as long as possible? Ansere and Freeman’s study suggests that one of the most well-supported ways to protect brain health is through physical exercise.

Below, we describe some strategies you and your aging family can use in order to integrate exercise into your weekly routines. While the duration and amount of exercise for optimal health-preserving benefits is still being researched, this blog can start you off with some ways to make more time for exercise and to stick to your schedule.

Add Exercise to Your Agenda

Write it Down: One of the best ways to set goals for yourself is to make them tangible. That is to say, write it down on a calendar or on a sticky note on your bedroom mirror—whatever helps. This way, you can see what goal you have set out for yourself, which will encourage you to achieve them.

Start Small: One of the surest ways to “fall off the wagon,” so to speak, is by setting unrealistic goals. This means setting goals that are too hard for beginners to accomplish. Failing goals can be humbling, but can also be discouraging for beginners. Instead, start small. For example, don’t start training for a 10k marathon (unless you already have a plan in place!), but start off with 20-minute walks around the neighborhood. Week after week, add more time and more challenging exercises to keep your schedule fun and interesting.

Have an Accountability Partner: One great way to stay on track with exercise-related goals is to partner up with a friend to help remind you and keep you motivated. While COVID-19 still poses a threat in close-quarter environments, your accountability partner can still send you text messages or even joining on a video conferencing app to join in on at-home exercises.

Keep it Close: One great thing about some exercises is that many can be done at home. Since concerns over the spread of COVID-19 are still relevant, we suggest you find some online videos to learn about safe at-home activities you can do. For example, you can try Pilates, yoga, buy exercise bands, or do body-weight exercises.

Before starting any exercise routine, consult with your doctor. If you have any questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.

WARNING: During times of COVID-19, ElderCare at Home does NOT recommend going to gyms. These environments can put many people at risk while the coronavirus is still a threat. Instead, we encourage outdoor activities or at-home exercises, in line with social distancing measures.

[1] Ansere, Victor A., and Willard M. Freeman. 2020. “Exercising Your Mind.” Science 369 (6500): 144–145.
[2] Source: United Nations

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