It is well documented that exercise is an important component to our body’s good health and longevity. However, in recent years, studies have shifted focus toward examining how exercise is important in the protection of our brains. Research has shown that exercise can bolster areas of the brain that aide in creativity, alertness and motivation. Exercise may also improve the functions of the synapses between neurons, helping brain cells communicate.
In a recent study published in Nature Medicine, researchers theorize that an exercise-induced hormone called irisin may improve brain health by promoting neuronal growth in the brain’s hippocampus, a region critical for learning and memory. Consequently, irisin may combat or reduce the progression of dementia as well as reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Therefore, we can conclude that everyone should exercise to build a better brain.
However, many find that exercise can be difficult to accomplish on land due to health conditions such as arthritis and joint pain. Achy joints can make it hard to go for a walk or incorporate strength exercises into a daily routine. Or maybe some have become bored with standard aerobic classes or going for a run. These reasons can make working out the last thing someone would want to do.
A perfect solution is to come to Eisenschmidt Pool to try one of our water fitness classes!
Exercising in the water is great for reducing arthritis and other joint pain because the buoyancy of the water helps put less stress and reduce the pressure on joints compared to land exercise. Water also acts as a form of resistance: since water is 12 times more resistant that air, you’ll benefit from both a strength and cardio workout. According to the Cleveland Clinic, pool exercise can burn between 400 to 500 calories per hour.
Here is another factor to consider in choosing the pool as part of a workout regime. The previously mentioned Nature Medicine study discovered that mice that swam almost every day over a five-week period developed significantly less memory impairment in spite of being infused with the protein, beta amyloid, thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s. Increasing research is showing that water therapy provides unique benefits that improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. “We found that brain blood flow is higher when subjects were immersed in water up to the level of the heart compared to on land — laying the ground work for further investigation on its effects on cerebrovascular health”, said Dr. Howard Carter of University of Western Australia, School of Sport Science, whose study appears in the American Journal of Physiology. As with land-based exercise, different types of water-based activities, such as water aerobics and swimming, have slightly different effect on heart function and cerebral blood flow. A boost in blood flow can help improve memory, mood, clarity and focus.
Only we hold the power to change and protect our brain. Now, dig that swimsuit out of the drawer and make your way to the pool!