DESIGNING A HEALTHY DIET FOR THE NEW YEAR

Every year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The majority of these resolutions focus on diet in attempts to lose weight and be healthier. A new year is the perfect time to jumpstart a healthy diet to make the changes you want to see for yourself throughout the year. However, research shows 80 percent of resolutions fail by February. Many people strive for unrealistic goals, which ultimately set them up for failure.

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EXERCISE HAS BENEFICIAL EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN

While exercise has long been known for its positive effects on physical health and its ability to heighten energy and help manage chronic health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, exercise is now being lauded for its beneficial effects on the brain.   These benefits touch almost every aspect of life. Exercise helps sharpen short-term memory and improve long-term memory. This happens because exercise can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation and stimulate….

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GETTING STARTED AND STICKING WITH IT

As we kick off 2018, you may be thinking about resolutions pertaining to your health and fitness. It’s easy to determine some ways to improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being. However, it’s not always as simple to stay motivated and make the new commitments part of your lifestyle. Now is the perfect time to set goals, whether it be for the number of days you intend to work out each week, how many steps you want to take each day or healthy meals you want to prepare for your family.

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All types of aerobic exercise qualify, even dancing, which is said to beat traditional exercise when it comes to improving older adults’ balance and may enhance brain areas related to memory and learning. More research is needed to judge the effects of exercise on the brain for those who are already cognitively impaired and for the already frail individual. But the message is clear: For big brain benefits, get in your exercise most days of the week. Mark it on your calendar and just do it, whether it is walking, biking or some other form of movement. Your body – and your brain – will thank you.


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EXERCISE HAS BENEFICIAL EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with an MSN from University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60+ and Health & Wellness magazines. Her blog may be seen on her website at www.normajan.naiwe.com She wishes you a very Merry Christmas and many blessings for the New Year.

more articles by jean jeffers

to continue to be happy.


Exercise offers neurobiological benefits, too, such as helping to reduce stress. An experiment was performed on mice who exercised and mice who did not. The researchers concluded exercise reorganizes the structure of the brain to react differently to stressful situations by reducing the excitability or firing of neurons. Exercise helped reduce the level of anxiety the mice that exercised felt when experiencing stress. There was less or no reduction of stress in the mice that were sedentary.


Exercise increases energy and reduces fatigue. It was found to ramp up the creation of new mitochondrial cells in the brain, which can help guard against mental fatigue. It slows down degenerative changes in the brain, thereby reducing brain atrophy. After age 30, the brain loses volume, specifically in the hippocampus. This affects cognitive abilities. Researchers discovered moderate exercise in healthy older adults actually reversed brain aging by helping them gain 1 percent to 2 percent volume in the hippocampus. Exercise seems to create a lowered risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It increases productivity, boosts creativity and jumpstarts learning.

While exercise has long been known for its positive effects on physical health and its ability to heighten energy and help manage chronic health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, exercise is now being lauded for its beneficial effects on the brain.


These benefits touch almost every aspect of life. Exercise helps sharpen short-term memory and improve long-term memory. This happens because exercise can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation and stimulate the release of chemicals that promote the growth of new blood vessels in the brain. It can even affect the abundance and survival of new brain cells. Exercise increases focus and cognitive flexibility. In a 2009 study, researchers found there is a link between aerobic exercise and increases in mental speed, attention and cognitive flexibility.


Psychological benefits of exercise abound. It has the ability to restore positive feelings and make you resistant to stressful situations. Neurochemicals are released into the brain during exercise. The chief ones are endorphins, dopamine and norepinephrine. These are “feel good” chemicals that help clean out stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline from the body. Exercise positively impacts self-esteem and counteracts depression. In many individuals, exercise has been shown to increase pain tolerance. And exercise makes you happier. In a long-term study, researchers found people who were active tended to be happy and remain happy, whereas people who were not active often failed