Aging is an inevitable process. Something that everyone does. But, getting fit at 40 is not something everyone chooses to explore. There are so many reasons why getting in shape in your 40's can help maintain good health and brain function.
Getting Fit At 40
Before we discuss the effects that exercise has on your brain: I want to stress to you the effects that exercise will have on your overall quality of life through your golden years.
Bone Health and Falls
People who remain active have a higher quality of life and suffer from less health related issues that are due to a lack of physical exercise. For both men and women getting fit at 40 can significantly reduce your risk of osteoporosis, fractures and falls. The rate of death due to fall related injuries rises as you age and your biggest combatant against this is to stay fit.
You will also reduce your risk of many cardiovascular diseases. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cholesterol levels are all significantly impacted by your exercise levels. Getting fit at 40 can prove to your heart that you have many years left.
Fitness Effects Brain Function
A Boston University School Of Medicine study wondered just how much exercise in the early 40's could really effect the brain. They conducted a long term study of 1270 participants. They asked participants to use a treadmill to evaluate their fitness levels at age 40. These fitness levels were measured with blood pressure response and heart rate while working out.
Those participants who had high fitness levels at age 40 had greater brain volume at age 60. So the fitness of the patient had a direct link on the rate of loss of brain cells.
Not only that but those patients who got fit at 40 performed better on cognitive tests. These tests focused on mental agility and decision making skills.
While people who are physically fit also tend to eat healthier diets and make healthier life choices. This could be a huge indicator of a way to prevent the mental decline we see in many elderly people.
Will Exercise Help An Already Decaying Brain?
So we know that exercise reduces brain shrinkage. But what about once you are well into your 60's or beyond?
One study illustrated that exercise for people in their 6th decade may improve many cognitive functions. This study compared seniors who were couch potatoes to seniors who worked out vigorously.
Do you want to guess who was the winner?
Seniors who worked out regularly measured better on several measures of intelligence. These tests included tests about short-term memory, tests about reasoning. and there were tests that measured overall intelligence.
Being active seems to improve brain function for seniors, and it doesn't end with getting fit at 40. Maintaining a level of physical activity throughout your life seems to be the key to maintaining your mental edge.
Maintains Lean Body Mass
One of the added benefits of getting fit at 40 and staying fit through your golden years is that it is going to maintain lean body mass. What does this have to do with your brain? One of the leading factors in premature death in the country is obesity.
Maintaining lean body mass will help prevent the many diseases that are commonly associated with high body weights like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
One of the things often glossed over is the profound mental affect that chronic illness has. Those who are chronically ill suffer from higher rates of depression and anxiety than those without these illnesses. Getting fit at 40 can help prevent mental woes as well as physical ailments.
Ultimately fitness is an extremely personal journey. It should be one that is maintained through out life. The style of exercise may change as you age, because you cannot run as far and as fast at 60 that you could at 30. But age should never be a reason to stop exercising because of all the amazing benefits that it offers.
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