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How Your Aerobics Class May Keep Your Brain Younger

By Sandy Schroeder

We live in a fast-paced world where energy and alertness are premium products. Most of us have learned that regular physical exercise can keep our mood up and our bodies toned, but wait! Researchers say exercise, especially aerobics, may make the brain younger, too.

EasyHealthOptions took a look at this recently and concluded aerobic exercise may not be a time machine that zooms you back to your 20s, but it may help your brain perform high-level tasks better, similar to what you did when you were in school. Problem-solving, focused concentration, and decision-making may snap to attention.

As we move through careers, working day in and day out, our flexibility, range of motion and mental nimbleness may decline, but aerobics may help us turn everything around, according to the researchers.

You may already be involved in aerobic exercise that serves as cardio exercise to improve blood flow, breathing and heart rate.

But Now There May Be More Benefits

Japanese researchers at the University of Tsukuba studied the effects of aerobic fitness on complex mental tasks such as decision-making skills. They studied 60 men who were 64 to 75, and had no signs of cognitive decline. The researchers found the study participants, who were the most aerobically fit, also turned out to be the ones with brain activity that was similar to younger adults.

I worked with a brilliant university professor who was in his 60s, but actually looked, acted and thought like he was much younger. As I got to know him, I also found out that he did aerobic exercises every morning, and he was learning to play the cello in evening classes.  I think the Japanese researchers might agree that he was effectively using aerobics and music to keep his brain younger.

Wherever you are in the age spectrum, and aerobic activity cycle, these examples may be a cue to make the most of aerobics and tune up your brain, too.

Go dancing - Take your partner out for dinner and dancing on a regular basis, or find a weekly dance class that really proves to be a workout.

Swim more - Hit the pool or the ocean and get a big dose of cardio exercise, plus mental stimulation.

Try kickboxing - Check your community for classes and studios.

Take a spin class - Check your local gym for the best times for spin classes.

Run more often - Head out in early morning or early evening.

As always, get your doctor’s approval before beginning a new exercise regimen. Line up the aerobic choices that suit you and see how your brain responds.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Irvine, Calif.

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