Updated: Oct 11
Exercise is critically important for brain health and vitality. One of the keys to establishing a consistent exercise routine is to develop a mindset of making the time rather than trying to find the time.
Of course, there are a lot of facets involved in exercise selection and location. Plus, you must check with your doctor before beginning a physical activity outside your daily routine.
For many, when they think about exercise, they think about going to go to the gym. It is estimated that over 60% of people with a gym membership either fail to use it at all or use it so infrequently that it imparts no long-term health benefits. While some people enjoy going to the gym, and gyms serve a great purpose, most people see it as something they have to do instead of something they want to do.
That’s not necessarily a good place to be because pulling yourself away from doing other things you like (e.g., hiking, canoeing, birdwatching, etc.) can create stress in your life. So, in a particular light, you could view this as a stress management tool.
Choosing exercises and activities that you like to do increases the odds that you will stay dedicated to keeping exercise as a planned part of your daily routine. The way to succeed is by doing something you love to do. For some people, this might mean exercising in nature, even gardening; for others, it might be something simple like taking the family out for a long walk through the neighborhood.
There are added benefits to these types of activities in the different ways they stimulate the brain. Bending, stretching, as able, and moving plants around seems low-impact, but if you've not done it for a while, start slowing. Exercising in nature, however, promotes your awareness and sense of place. Walking through the neighborhood creates opportunities for social interaction when you catch up with neighbors and friends you meet along the way.
Doing something you want to do is critically important because it provides more than just the exercise. It offers a host of tools that will also help to train your brain positively. Motivation enhances learning. This makes it much easier to develop a habit when it’s something that you love to do.
Contributor: Dr. Michael Trayford is a Board-Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Founder of APEX Brain Centers in Asheville, NC. For more information, please visit https://apexbraincenters.com/cognitive-decline-asheville-nc/.
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