Skip Navigation Links
 



                     


 



   
    Learn More     Subscribe    
Join Now!      Login
 
 
 
FREE HEALTH
NEWSLETTER
 
 
Vitamin D Poll
Are you currently taking a Vitamin D supplement?
 
 
 
 
W
hat Will Work for Me?
 


Brain Health 3: The Wonders of Exercise

© John Whitcomb

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled What Will Work for Me? by John Whitcomb . View all columns in series
Competency: Brain Health
This is the hard one. Your brain needs you to exercise. And you really don’t want to. You want to sit on the couch and watch CSI. To become motivated to exercise you have to have some really primal forces pushing you. How about not eating if you don’t walk? Or, no sex for you if you don’t run a bit... In our evolutionary past that was basically it. We had to run to chase down lunch (gazelles and kudu) or to get away from our predators (lions). Or, we had to be on the move to find the next seasonal food source that might be a couple of miles away. If you examine the most primitive hunter gatherers on the planet (Hadza in Tanzania) you find folks who hunt around the clock whenever an opportunity arises, walking miles to kill one baboon to share among twenty individuals. A lot of walking for a little bit of food. We evolved walking, running and stressing our muscles a lot.

Life is easier now. You may have to climb five stairs in your tri-level house on your way to breakfast. And maybe you have to walk down to the mailbox to leave an envelope for the postman. And that’s about it. There is all that standing around the water cooler, of course. But come on, you aren’t getting sweaty. Put a pedometer on and you only walk about 1500 to 2000 steps a day. And your brain is gradually turning to mush. The details of why exercise is so good for you are not completely known. It’s likely something to do with osteocalcin, a marvelous little protein washed out of bones with exercise that makes you much more sensitive to insulin. And with lower insulin you have less inflammation. Something there is in your brain nurse cells called glial cells that wrap themselves around your regular brain cells and protect them that doesn’t like insulin, but still need lots of glucose as energy. If you want a healthy brain you want glial cells that never get activated. You want them to be calm and relaxed and mellow. And to get to mellow, your glial cells need to have you exercise.

The research is just stunning. Here is just one example. Andel in the Journal of Gerontology published a lovely twin study, following some 3100 pairs of twins in Sweden for thirty years. He was able to find 90 pairs who developed Alzheimer’s in one and not the other. The effect of exercise was pretty big. Light exercise like gardening and walking reduced risk of dementia as much as 40%. Sweaty exercise with sports reduced the risk as much as 65%. And that was 31 years later. But this column has reviewed this idea many times. We’ve reviewed that even light exercise measurably affects your memory within just 6 months, and the effect lasts 18 months afterwards.

WWW: Want a healthy brain? It’s pretty simple. You just have to move more than you are moving now. 10 K a day is a very interesting number. You add that much walking to your 2K day, and you get to keep your brain. It will take you about an hour. Find a friend. Make it a habit. Join the Milwaukee Hiking Club. I’m there and would love to introduce you. 5 hikes a week, rain or shine. No cost. Nice people. http://wisconsingohiking.homestead.com We walk about 5 miles at a time. And laugh.

Referecne: Andel et al J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci (2008) 63 (1): 62-66.

Add your comment      
About The Author
John Whitcomb, MD is a wellness physician based in Milwaukee. His board certification in Anti Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Holistic and Integrative Medicine and Internal Medicine puts his insight at the point of advancing medical therapies key to our personal wellness. He has been writing his column for five years and always ends with "What Will Work for Me?. The nexus of......more
 
Share   Facebook   Buzz   Delicious   Digg   Twitter  
 
 
 
 
 
 
From Our Sponsor
 
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training - Level I
     February 18-May 20, 2014
     Los Angeles, CA USA
 
Additional Calendar Links
 
Wellness, Thinking, dimension!

Search   
Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Healthy Products       Bookstore       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Free Newsletter      What Doctor's Don't Tell You      Stevia.com      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.