As we age, everybody wants to keep their minds and bodies as sharp as possible. But if you could only choose one, which would you choose? If you find this hard to answer, you aren’t alone. A popular psychological study known as “The 36 Questions” poses the question, “If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?” While it seems like an impossible question, you may not have to decide between mind and body after all. Evidence shows that keeping your body healthy through exercise, regular visits to a Charlotte chiropractor, and proper nutrition can also keep your memory sharp as you age.
Why Aging Impacts Memory
As we age, our brains undergo a series of changes. The part of the brain that forms and retrieves memories, the hippocampus, begins to slowly deteriorate over time. Additionally, proteins and hormones that stimulate further neural growth and repair damaged brain cells also start to decline as you age. Other conditions can have an impact on the brain as well. For example, if you experience blood pressure issues, there may be reduced blood flow to the brain that contributes to memory loss.
While some memory issues will typically occur with age, one way to prevent these is keeping the brain and body working well. Addressing spinal misalignments through chiropractic care can help the body communicate as needed to prevent an increased loss of memory, and any activity that keeps the body healthy can help as well.
Benefits of Exercise
In addition to caring for your spine, regular exercise has been shown to be one of the best ways to keep the brain working well into older age. Even small amounts of exercise have been shown to heighten activity in the hippocampus and its connections to the cerebral cortex, both of which are vital for both long and short-term memory.
Not only does exercise boost your physical health and memory structures, but consistent workouts can also increase the neurotransmitter levels, which may impact mental health. When neurotransmitters work properly, they can regulate mood, sleep, and memories. This is why those struggling with mental health may suffer from memory loss or foggy memories, and why exercise may address both issues.
There is some evidence that exercising may even help prevent future suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Because our brains desire activity, regular exercise may be important to avoiding these conditions in the future.
What Kind of Exercise Should I Do?
Ultimately, anything that gets your blood flowing and body moving will be helpful in maintaining your memory. Yoga and Pilates are often recommended, as they engage both the mind and the body. As long as it’s done for 20 minutes a day or more, any exercise can be beneficial.
To maintain health as you age and as you exercise, Greater Life Chiropractic provides a focus on holistic wellness to help you reach your goals. Whether you need an adjustment from Dr. Grant Lisetor, consultation on exercises that can be done after injuries, or general advice on maintaining your physical and mental health, our Charlotte chiropractic office is there for you. Contact us today to take the first step!
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DeFina, L.F., Willis, B.L., Radford, N.B., Gao, A., Leonard, D., Haskell, W.L., Weiner, M.F., Berry, J.D. “The Association Between Midlife Cardiorespiratory Fitness Levels and Later-Life Dementia.” Annals of Internal Medicine, 2014 Feb; 158 (3): 162-168. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926646/
Smith, M., Robinson, L., Segal, R. “Age-Related Memory Loss.” 2019 July. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia-aging/age-related-memory-loss.htm