Feeding Your MindBody: Part III

By on Oct 04, 2013 in General Health Comments: 0. Tags: , , , , , , ,
LENS helps peak performance in sports and at work

In Feeding Your Brain: Part I & Part II we discussed the paramount importance of eating real foods to maximize MindBody health. Another essential ingredient is physical exercise.

Exercise is as important nutrient for optimal health as is the good food that you eat.

Hence, feeding your MindBody!

The brain, like the rest of the body, begins to degenerate with age. Memory starts to deteriorate in your thirties. Problems with executive function, including processing speed, response speed and working memory, often start in the seventies. And, some sensory inputs—hearing and vision—decline with age as well.

However, cognitive decline with aging is not inevitable and, like the rest of your health, is very much influenced by lifetime lifestyle choices. The obvious example of a negative lifestyle stressor being the effects of excess alcohol on the liver and the brain. On the other hand, we can focus on the effects of a positive stressor—exercise—on the body (maintaining muscle mass and strength, improved cardio-vascular and pulmonary function, etc) and on the brain.

The brain uses 20% of the body’s energy requirements, more than any other organ, to both fuel the electrical impulses of its more than 100 billion neurons and to nourish three times as many glial cells to support their role, both in communication and the performance of general housekeeping to maintain cell and overall brain health. All of this requires adequate and healthy blood flow to deliver the rocket-fuels, oxygen and glucose. Therefore, the problems of an aging circulatory system which can decrease blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and glucose to the brain, and the benefits of exercise—to enhance blood flow—become obvious.

Regular exercise, of the type that elevates your heart rate, is the single most useful thing you can do to maintain your cognitive abilities…and reduce your risk of dementia… later in life.”

Exercise is the body’s master signaler.

It is the foundation of positive brain chemistry, giving the body messages to build, strengthen and repair in stark contrast to the messages of atrophy and degeneration broadcast by inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle.

The key is the quality of exercise, working the whole body and involving as many muscle groups as possible, not the quantity of exercise.

For peak strength and cardio-pulmonary fitness (and optimal fat burning), nothing can beat high-intensity, shorter-duration, interval-style training (sprinting, cycling, rowing, elliptical machines, kettle bells, calisthenics, strength or resistance training, boxing, etc). Limit intense exercise to no more than 20 minutes in duration and focus on brief bouts of significant anaerobic exertion, interspersed with brief periods of recovery at a slower pace that is sufficient for a return to the resting heart rate.”

Exercising harder and smarter for less time makes your body a lean, mean, fat-burning machine promoting optimal MindBody health.


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