A new study published in the June 8 online issue of the Neurology tells me something I already knew, but from a different angle.
Older people who don’t exercise are at a greater risk for “silent strokes” that create small brain lesions over time and lead to impaired memory, increased risk of falls, and even dementia. If you engage in moderate exercise, however, you can reduce your risk of these silent strokes by about 40 percent.
Ten years ago, Albertine Schuit was already on to this idea that exercise protected the brain. In an article published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise he determined that exercising an hour or more a day reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by a whopping 80 percent in those who had the genetic tendency for it.
While the mechanics of brain deterioration may be different in the two cases, it’s simply another example of how physical activity is good for you. I don’t understand how some people don’t get this yet.
People want a quick fix for weight loss that either requires no exercise or very little of it. We’ve heard of “six-second abs,” or “20 minutes, three times a week,” getting a “four-hour body” or how it only takes “eight minutes in the morning.” These are all toxic mentalities that view exercise as punishment to achieve a certain end. The reality is that embracing lots of intense exercise is going to do far more than facilitate weight loss: It makes your entire body function better from head to toe.
Yes, I like having a body that looks good and is strong and can run fast. However, what I really dig is the quest for righteous longevity. I call it “righteous” because who wants to spend a decade wasting away in a nursing home?
Intense exercise keeps you spry and functional. All parts of you. You get a workout from your brain down to your feet, and everything is healthier and higher functioning as a result. Coupled with a healthy diet and abstaining from risky behaviours, this is the fountain of youth.
If you’re looking for a good role model for righteous longevity, then here is one I can recommend.