Branding a person to be as fast as a computer is not a common citation and these individuals stand out of the common lot. Very rarely we come across individuals who can remember names of 100 different countries, their capitals and even their location in the map. With the evolving of smartphone technology there are not many of us who even remember phone numbers of our parents! Calculators for mathematical calculations, apps to remind us of our chores and social media to help us wish dear ones on their special days have left us stranded in terms of memory and thinking. Though the human mind is said to be faster than a computer and we have examples of the mathematical wizard Ms. Shakuntala Devi to prove this how many of our kids or younger adults are aspiring for such a stature in life?
Misplaced Thinking Caps
Forgotten how to think by yourself? Let go of all the available extra forces outside, believe in yourself, sit in solitude and think. You are sure to discover a new you. Exercise has been recommended for a healthy body but isn’t overall wellness the total output of a healthy body and a healthy mind? C’mon, start exercising for turning into a new leaf who is now equipped with the ability to think. While exercise helping in cognitive improvement has been a topic of interest in older adults (to prevent early attack of diseases such as Alzheimer’s) we are not focusing much on its impact on the younger generation. Stave off cognitive decline in old age with many other techniques shared at www.firsteatright.com. Regular aerobic exercises such as walking, cycling or climbing stairs have been proven to improve cognitive skills of not only older people but also in those as young as 20 years or so, according to a latest research.
We have a term to collectively call the specific set of thinking skills that improve with exercise and that’s executive function. Executive function helps an individual regulate his/her own behavior, be more attentive and fulfill goals. The research showed that regular exercising not only improved executive functioning but also increased thickness in an area of the outer layer of the brain. The study involved 132 participants aged between 20 and 67 years who did not suffer from dementia, did not smoke but also did not exercise as a result of which they suffered from reduced fitness levels. Each of the participants were put into one of the two groups-aerobic exercises or stretching and toning four times a week.
Each of the participants were given a wearable fitness device that monitored their heart rate. Coaches were assigned to monitor weekly progress, the participants’ cognitive and memory skills were evaluated at the start of the study, three months after the study and at the end of six months too. Aerobic exercises included anything between stationary cycling, treadmill walking or exercising on an elliptical machine. Those in the stretching and toning group performed exercises that promoted flexibility and core strength. It was seen that those who performed aerobic exercises improved their scores on executive function tests by 0.50 points whereas those involved in stretching and toning improved only by 0.25 points. Around 40 years, the thinking skills were almost 0.228 standard deviation units higher in those who performed aerobic exercises compared to those who stretched. At the age of 60, it was 0.596 standard deviation units higher. Every 0.5 difference in standard deviation was equivalent to 20 years of age-related difference in performance. Those people who exercises showed as if they were 10 years younger at the age of 40 and 20 years younger at the age of 60.
Exercise shows benefits on adults belonging to any age group. Prepare your mind for reminding your body to exercise. Only when there is a coordination between the mind and the body do we get to see the actual action happening.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.