What Are Good Exercises To Improve Memory And Concentration?
Exercise has long been talked about as a way to lose weight, improve muscle coordination and boost overall well-being.
However, many people don’t realize exercise is one of the best ways to improve memory and concentration.
If you are not getting as much activity as you should, it may be time to add a few simple exercises to your daily routine. Doing so could help your ability to remain mentally sharp long into the future.
There have been many studies linking exercise to an overall healthier aging process. Physical activity keeps the body going and has been known to reduce disease rates among seniors. A recent put a real number on the effects that exercise has on the brain and how that translates to memory increase and preservation. Researchers at the University of Illinois conducted a study with a group of people in their 60s. Half of them were given an aerobic exercise routine for 1 year, which they followed religiously, the other half had no routine or guidelines to follow.
- “Subjects in the aerobic exercise group increased average hippocampus volume in the left and right hemispheres by 2.12% and 1.97%, respectively, an average of just over 2%.
- Over the same one-year interval, the control group that participated in non-aerobic stretching exercises displayed a 1.40% and 1.43% decline.
- Within the control group, baseline fitness level was a determining factor in minimizing overall hippocampal volume loss.
- An increase in hippocampal volume is directly correlated with improvements in memory.”
The results are pretty remarkable. Exercise inhibits the hippocampus from shrinking and can also increase the volume. The evidence doesn’t lie, exercise can help with memory function by preserving the memory space you have, and in many cases, gives you more space to work with. What do you think? Check out the article here.
Effects of Exercise to Improve Memory and Concentration on your Body
Exercise has many benefits for your overall health and brain function, including:
- Alleviates pain and inflammation in the body, and improves immune system function
- Reduces insulin resistance, potentially helping with better control over blood sugar levels
- Stimulates and regulates chemicals in the brain that impact the development of cells
- Promotes healthy cell development throughout the body
- Encourage the development of new blood vessels in the brain, allowing for oxygen-rich blood to reach more parts of the brain
There are also a number of ways that exercise contributes to the brain’s health in a more indirect manner. And, this could improve your quality of life, as well.
Exercise has the following effects on your body:
- Enhances mood, making you feel more happy and energetic throughout the day
- Regulates stress, which helps your body feel better, but also reduces inflammation risks
- Improves sleep, which boosts brain concentration
- Minimizes anxiety and depression
- Enriches cognitive function, allowing you to think and react more efficiently
How to Exercise to Improve Memory, Concentration and Promote Healthy Aging
For many men and women, the process starts with making the decision to exercise on a consistent basis. You do not have to exercise a great deal or every day, but you do want to make sure you are getting physical exercise of some sort for a few minutes each day. Be consistent.
A good place to start is with a doctor’s appointment.
Be sure you are healthy enough to exercise and become aware of any limitations. Your doctor may be happy to encourage you to exercise, but some have some warnings about the types of workouts you perform.
Your health and any underlying illnesses need to be addressed on an individual basis before you get started. From there, consider the types of exercises best suited for you.
Here are five ideas for exercise to improve memory and concentration.
5 Exercises to Improve Memory and Concentration
Walking is an excellent place for the non-exerciser to get started. You will want to build up to about a 20 to 30 minute walk each day, when possible.
There are a few things to keep in mind:
- Walk outdoors when possible as small hills and turns help to increase the intensity of the workout.
- Try to walk with a friend for the motivation to go just a bit further (and the companionship!).
- Aim to increase your tolerance over time by adding small weights or by going longer distances.
- If you can’t get outdoors, choose a slow-moving treadmill at home. Again, make sure you know your limits.
For seniors with joint pain or limited mobility, swimming is by far one of the best exercise options available.
Swimming moves your body without the intensity of joint damage to your knees. Even if you are significantly overweight, you may be able to do more when you are in the water than on dry land.
3. Tennis, Squash, or Racquetball
These are sports you can do indoors where it is cool. They are also low intensity; you do not have to play your heart out on the court to get the benefits.
Tennis, squash, and racquetball are all similar in that they offer a little bit of friendly competition, not to mention the social aspects, that are ideal for some people.
Check out indoor leagues at your local recreational center.
4. Senior Fitness Programs
Senior fitness programs can be a good way to get some socialization and exercise.
Consider those programs designed for the level of intensity you are able to enjoy right now. And, be sure to do them with a friend to keep you engaged and on track.
5. Exercise at Home
For seniors who may be unable to get out and about as often, find ways to exercise at home.
Walk around the house – indoors or out.
Spend some time with an exercise bike (you can purchase hand pedal versions if you are unable to use a traditional bike).
Staying Active With Exercises to Improve Memory and Concentration
Your goal is simply to get, and stay, active.
When you do, you start to see the benefits on your body and, over time, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your brain function, memory, and concentration levels.