3 habits of a neurophysiologist for a healthy aging brain
Exercise is essential for brain health, and any type of movement is A+ for cognitive longevity. However, Nicola praises aerobic exercise and strength training for optimal brain aging.
Aerobic exercises accelerate the work of the heart, which promotes blood flow to the brain; this results in more oxygen and nutrients for the brain, she notes. Aerobic exercise is also indicated generate new neurons in the hippocampus4or an area of the brain associated with memory, learning, and emotions.
Resistance training, on the other hand, “offers a whole new set of benefits that still shock even me,” says Nicola. She explains that muscle contraction releases certain myokines5, or muscle proteins, into the blood. “They go up to the blood-brain barrier and affect different areas of our brain,” shares Nicola. It has been shown that some of these myokines have neuroprotective properties6.
How much exercise do you need, you may ask? We repeat, the best exercise is what you do, but if you’re looking for a more defined routine, Nicola recommends at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise a day and strength training three times a week. “You want to do about five exercises per muscle,” she explains. If you need some training inspiration, feel free to check out our complete strength training guide.