Exercise for Your Best Brain Health
by Pamela Costello MD PC
If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong.
~ Thomas Jefferson
Exercise is a critical component of creating your best brain health. Modern day neurotoxins, including heavy metals and industrial pollutants, as well as a genetically modified and adulterated food supply, radiation, and an increasingly contaminated water supply, are all factors which have brought our brains to a low point of neurologic health. When undertaking the process of identifying and treating your neurotoxic burden, physical movement through exercise is a key component. Your brain is under constant modification, both constructive and degenerative. This ‘plasticity’ provides us the opportunity to not only repair damage from lifelong neurotoxic burdens, but actually to improve our brain and neurologic function to a higher level, once the neurologic terrain has been detoxified and maximally supported.
Exercise in all forms stimulates the brain to work at improved capacity by promoting neurons to repair and strengthen their interconnections and provide protection from oxidative stress. Scientific studies have illustrated that during exercise nerve cells release brain growth proteins known as neurotrophic factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health, and has a direct benefit on cognitive function. Among elementary school students, 40 minutes of daily exercise increased their IQ by an average of nearly 4 points. Among 6th graders, the fittest students scored 30 percent higher than average students. At any age, exercise serves as a powerful tool to maximize our brain health and function. In more advanced age groups, exercise has been effective with Alzheimer’s disease, as even mild to moderate exercise can reverse normal brain shrinkage by 2 percent, effectively reversing age-related Hippocampal degeneration.
Whatever your current neurological health or physical functional level is, the healing of your brain and nervous system is best facilitated by an appropriate level of exercise. Exercise helps maintain healthy blood pressure and weight, improves circulation and lymphatic toxin drainage, strengthens the heart, increases the production of endorphins, improving energy and mood, and lowers stress and anxiety, all of which contribute to enhanced brain health and a heightened sense of wellness. Whichever exercise program you choose, commit to establishing exercise as a routine, as it is a medicine with a multitude of benefits, including achieving your best brain health.
From Sean Plake, Certified Personal Trainer (the exercise expert who brought me back to my best physical and brain health!): What is keeping you from starting an exercise program for improved health? Some people are intimidated by weights and the thought of sweat, or are unsure of their ability to participate in an exercise program. You should never feel intimidated by exercise, which is simply performing body movements at different rates. Television creates the illusion that exercise is only for ‘fit’ people, which could not be further from the truth. Exercise and movement are for EVERYONE! Exercise can be done at your local workout facility, outside at a park, in your home, and even in your office. When starting an exercise program with a qualified, Certified Personal Trainer, and after medical clearance from your physician, you should begin a program appropriate for your level of ability, and then slowly increase the intensity and volume as tolerated. You just need to start moving to see improvement of your overall mood, alertness, energy and general health!
For a comprehensive brain health/neurotoxin burden evaluation and individualized, comprehensive treatment protocol, please contact Dr. Costello’s office at 505-503-8325 for an appointment. visit us www.drcostello.com.