With increases in modern technology, we are expected to live longer than ever before. However, the longer we live, the more likely we are to develop age related illnesses such as Dementia. Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and this is likely to rise significantly in the next decade. With no known cure, this is a frightening statistic. However, Leading Psychiatrist, Dr Norman Doidge, has made a startling link between the brain and staying fit.
Canadian psychiatrist and author of “The Brain that Changes Itself” and “The Brain’s Way of Healing” Dr. Norman Doidge, is at the forefront of research revealing that our brains have a greater capacity of change, growth and self-rehabilitation than previously thought possible. Dr Doidge says that the existing approach to dealing with Dementia has been to wait for pharmaceuticals to produce an effective treatment. He says that this model significantly underestimates the patient’s ability to use their brain combined with physical exercise to create a preventative buffer. “There is a good case to be made for the overall protective roles that certain activities have on the brain and its functions”.
Dr Doidge says that Exercise can certainly help to ward off Dementia. Exercise can help to improve general cellular functions in the brain and improves brain circulation by triggering neural growth and the development of new cells. In 2011, a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in the US found that people (without dementia) who did aerobic exercise for a year showed significant enlargement of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for memory, learning and emotion and its shrinking is often associated with early warning signs of Alzheimer’s.
“Human beings were never meant to sit all day in an office, or travel sitting in cars or aeroplanes, or eat processed foods, or smoke or drink too much. We are supposed to be active, but modern lifestyles stop us being so”. Dr. Doidge says that “it is now absolutely crystal clear that physical exercise helps preserve brain functioning.”
What will you do to move everyday?