Next time you find yourself completing some form of exercise how cool it would be to reflect upon just how beneficial that might have just been for you!
Sometimes we all get swept up in those more obvious benefits such as a changing body composition, increasing energy levels and decreasing pain prevalence. We all intuitively know just how important moving our bodies is, yet as a society we seem to be doing less and less.
We understand, things get in the way, work, family and finding good quality healthcare providers to guide you towards your activity goals can be difficult. We are not here to lecture you into completing more exercise, but simply to point out some of the lesser-known benefits of being a lifelong mover and shaker!
Here at The Biomechanics it would be sacrilegious to not be able to recite the Australian College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) physical activity guidelines of by heart, we use these guidelines as a very achievable goal for the vast majority of our patient, and we use it for good reason.
I will openly state, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed and for this exact reason one shown benefit of physical activity excites me more than any other. It is a benefit that is in our opinion not promoted nearly enough! And for that reason, let us explore the amazing ability of physical activity to slow cognitive decline and increase brain mass.
A recent Met-Analysis completed by Guure et al. (2017) showed that completing a high level of physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive decline by about 33% and those completing a moderate amount of physical activity stand to have a 26% reduced risk of cognitive decline. These results suggest that physical activity is an important modifiable risk factor for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, all-cause dementia, and cognitive decline.
But my brain works fine now you say… De Greef et al. (2018) also completed a Meta-Analysis looking at the effects of physical activity on executive functions, attention, and academic performance in school aged children. Probably will not surprise anyone to learn that higher levels of attention, academic performance and executive function were seen in those who completed regular physical activity.
Physical activity seems to be imperative at both ends of the life span if you would like a big, beautiful brain (and don’t we all). Oberlinet al. (2016) found that in a higher VO2max was associated with increased white matter microstructure, in a diverse network of areas including the anterior corona radiata, anterior internal capsule, fornix, cingulum, and corpus callosum, this is thought to lead to an increase in spatial working memory performance, suggesting that greater aerobic fitness levels may, in turn, preserve spatial memory performance in older adulthood.
If that is not reason enough to get moving, we are not sure what is!
If you would like help and are not sure where or how to get started on your movement journey we are here to help.
de Greeff, J.W., Bosker, R. J., Oosterlaan, J., Visscher, C., & Hartman, E. (2018).Effects of physical activity on executive functions, attention and academic performance in preadolescent children: a meta-analysis. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 21(5), 501–507. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2017.09.595
Guure, ChrisB, Ibrahim, Noor A, Adam, Mohd B, & Said, Salmiah Md. (2017). Impact of Physical Activity on Cognitive Decline, Dementia, and Its Subtypes: Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. BioMed Research International, 2017,9016924–13. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9016924
Oberlin, L.E., Verstynen, T. D., Burzynska, A. Z., Voss, M. W., Prakash, R. S.,Chaddock-Heyman, L., Wong, C., Fanning, J., Awick, E., Gothe, N., Phillips, S.M., Mailey, E., Ehlers, D., Olson, E., Wojcicki, T., McAuley, E., Kramer, A.F., & Erickson, K. I. (2016). White matter microstructure mediates the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and spatial working memory in older adults. NeuroImage, 131, 91–101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.09.053
WE WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE BOON WURRUNG AND WURUNDJERI PEOPLES OF THE KULIN NATIONS WHO ARE THE CUSTODIANS OF THE LAND ON WHICH WE GATHER. WE PAY OUT RESPECTS TO THEIR ELDERS, PAST, PRESENT AND EMERGING.