Physical Exercise and the Brain

May 28, 2015

Physical Exercise and the Brain Physical activity used to be a natural part of life and necessary for survival. When our ancestors lived in an agricultural society “exercise” such as walking was embedded into every aspect of life. People would say they “travelled on shank’s pony” meaning they got there on their own two legs. Not so in today’s world where we sit at computers, in front of TVs, and drive vehicles for hours a day.

Since there is now a lot of talk about reducing our carbon footprint, this is a good time to reintroduce walking into your daily routine. Not only will you be improving air quality by leaving your vehicle parked in your driveway, but you’ll also be oxygenating your brain which will in turn clear your head and help you think better. This was verified by a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2004; it suggested that when the cognitive abilities of elderly women were compared, those who walked regularly were less likely to experience age-related memory loss and other declines in mental function.

Late in life my mother developed asthma which curtailed her walking. Prior to that she loved to walk and very rarely used her car if her feet could get her there. The decline of her mental abilities seemed to coincide with her diminished capacity for walking. Perhaps in her case this would have happened anyway but I believe she gave up on life when she couldn’t enjoy walking any more. This was a valuable life lesson for me as I observed my mother’s decline; at that time I resolved to do everything in my power to stay healthy. How about you? What do you do to stay healthy?

Related material from Sandra Bradshaw:
Effective Running Requires Awareness
How to Make “Exercise” Work for You in the Real World

If you would like to experience short and effective movement lessons to relieve physical discomfort consider my book and/or audio lessons Wake Up Your Body & Brain

Thousands of people have benefited from Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons; however, we cannot anticipate the needs and/or limitations of individuals. The material contained in this lesson is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. Consult your doctor or physiotherapist if you have any concerns. Responsibility for the lessons is strictly that of the user. 


Tags: physical activity, exercise walking, physical exercise, the Brain, feldenkrais, movement, core strength


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