Wise up with Pilates Mind Body Exercise
You may think it’s a “no-brainer.”
You already know that Pilates lengthens and strengthens your muscles, improves your balance and posture, helps with your breathing, flattens your abs, and revs up your energy level.
Time to rethink that bit about the mind and brain, though, because it’s been proven that regular, moderate exercise such as mind body exercise like Pilates can increase your smarts as well.
Talk about effective multi-tasking!
Improve Your Brain Health
Brain exercise can do a lot for your health. According to a recent article in USA Weekend, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego have linked physical exercise to neurogenesis, the scientific term for new brain growth.
“There is growing evidence that regular and consistent, moderate physical exercise can improve cognitive performance in young, healthy individuals and in the aging population,” says Fed H. Gage, lead researcher of the study.
“Our own research revealed that physical mind exercise increases the birth and survival of new brain cells in the mouse hippocampus, a brain area important for learning and memory.”
Successful aging studies have consistently shown that higher levels of physical activity are correlated with better aging. And exercise has also emerged as a factor that may prevent (or at least delay) the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
A University of Washington study found that regular exercise reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.
A regular gentle workout was enough to produce a positive effect, even for people aged over 65. Not only did regular exercise cut the risk of dementia, the results suggested it might also help to delay progression of the condition in people who begin to develop symptoms.
Lead researcher Dr. Eric Larson believes exercise may improve brain function by boosting blood flow to areas of the brain used for memory.
He said: "One theory is that exercise may prevent damage and might even help repair these areas by increasing blood flow."
"Even if you're 75 and have never exercised before, you can still benefit by starting to exercise now,” Dr. Larson said.
Regular exercises for the elderly such as Pilates Mind Body Exercise can help your brain by:
Improving concentration and attention.
Brain imaging studies show that highly-fit older adults have faster reaction times than their less-fit counterparts. Consider how much this would reduce the risk of falling!
They also are better able to focus on relevant information and ignore irrelevant cues, indicating better attention.
Reducing gray matter loss.
Highly fit people also show less of a decrease in gray matter in the cortex than is normally seen with aging, which may suggest a protective effect of mind exercise against nerve cell death.
As mentioned above, neurogenesis is the production of new nerve cells as a result of neuronal cell division. This increased neurogenesis is associated with improved learning.
In lab animals, exercise also increases the strength of synaptic connections. These synapses allow information to effectively flow from one neuron to another in the brain.
Make a Smart Move!
A regular Pilates exercise program is definitely a win-win situation. And just think, wouldn’t it be great to spend more time doing Pilates mind exercise and less time thinking, “Now, where did I put those keys?????”
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