Do you know someone who has trouble learning new things, concentrating or remembering small daily routine? Some people who suffer from the cognitive disease have difficulty even remembering their address, phone numbers, job, neighbours etc. Their independence is lost as they are always dependent on family member or nurse. Such effects of cognitive impairment can affect their day to day life. Such people become more prone to depression, heart disease and stress. They are unable to make small decisions or answer simple questions. Some cognitive diseases are dementia, amnesia, delirium etc. Causes vary according to the different types of disorders but mostly all of them affect our brain and memory. Treatments depend on the cause of a disease. There are several ways to reduce the risk of being affected by such diseases, exercise is one of it. Exercising can prevent us from cognitive impairment. As soon as we make a habit of exercising regularly, we get greater cognitive benefits. It improves our lifestyle and makes us a better person. We stay healthy mentally and physically. Just 1 hour of exercise every day can change our lives drastically. We should not ignore our body needs and exercise is a basic need of our body, mind and soul. It purifies our mind and gives more clarity which results in more conscious decision-making abilities.
You can go to the gym or work out at home, both are equally effective. Exercise is not confined to indoors or outdoors, just get a mat, a free space and your dedication is the key. Sweating while exercising can eliminate toxins from our body. A good figure or body can bring confidence. Exercise makes your body toned and minds calm. A walk in the park, jogging, breathing fresh air and skipping ropes are few more ways you can exercise. Strength Training, Aerobics, Yoga and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be beneficial in reducing risks of cognitive diseases. Exercise improves memory as brain remembers more when the body is active. It sharpens focus, increases work performance and it improves time management skills. Exercising has countless benefits.
Strength Training not only makes our muscles stronger but it is even beneficial for preventing brain health, memory and cognitive impairment. Start with a suitable weight dumbbell and lift weights or use a resistance band. It has a positive impact on brain function and it leads to a sustained memory. This exercise specialises on the use of resistance resulting in muscular contractions which produce strength and muscles. While we do strength training, endorphins are released which eliminates depression and anxiety. It also helps in producing norepinephrine chemical which helps the brain to cope up with stress. Bodybuilding, powerlifting, cross fit and power training is some of the strength training.
Aerobics also improve our overall fitness, be it mind or body. It increases our heart rate and we breath faster, as a result, more oxygen is supplied to heart. Dancing, Aerobics, Zumba etc keeps our lungs, heart and circulatory system healthy. Aerobics can also lower the risk of cognitive diseases as it is a vital exercise. Aerobics are sometimes called as ‘cardio’. It pumps oxygenated blood in the heart. Less known by people is a surprising fact about aerobics, is that it slows down our ageing process thus keeping us young.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) benefits our brain by promoting synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis and angiogenesis, thereby counteracting age-related cognitive impairment. It also improves metabolism. Lunges, butt kicks, arm circles, side bends, touch toes are some of HIIT exercises. Particularly HIIT exercises increase something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor which is good for the brain. You can choose to do HIIT exercise on alternate days and mix-n-match it with low-intensity exercise or yoga on the other days to have a good balance between both of them. Focus on certain parts of your body once in a week for HIIT exercises, don’t do twice for one part of the body as it can strain that muscle.
Being physically active is what really benefits our brain. Yoga stretches our muscles and it helps our body to stay in shape. It gives more flexibility to the body giving freedom to move for any exercise or daily activity. It reduces depression, anxiety and stress. Yoga improves memory and reduces risk of cognitive disease by stimulating and increasing the activity of neurotransmitters which blocks stress. 10 minutes of meditation with 10 minutes of yoga can drastically reduce the risk of dementia or memory loss. Doing yoga and meditation regularly is simple, low-cost solution and safe for improving our mental fitness. It increases flexibility and tone the body. it even improves respiration. You require a yoga mat to start, you also need focus, determination, discipline and concentration to achieve the difficult pose. Different asana (pose) are instructed to the student to reach a calm mind. A Less known fact is that it keeps us away from diseases and it strengthens our immunity system. The intensity of asana increases as you practice regularly.
Meditation helps the mind to clear out any negativity and improve concentration. It has a lot of benefits and most importantly it is so easy to do. You just need to find a calm place, sit straight and close your eyes. Recite a mantra or just pause your thoughts and relax your mind.
As people age, some suffer from cognitive diseases. As the saying goes that ‘prevention is better than cure’ similarly to start exercising regularly is better than suffering from diseases later in life. Small changes can give big results. Choose a healthy lifestyle. Keep your mind and body active. Make a daily routine to exercise. Swimming, Sports are also good ways of exercising. Choose a hobby, explore what you like to do in all the exercises and have fun doing it because it’s a step towards a long and healthy life. Don’t stress your body to work out more than your capability. Just do justice to your bodies, do little but regularly. Challenge yourself by setting up short goals like 3 reps or 4 reps and reward yourself with a healthy fruit juice after you achieve it. Keep calm and Work Out.