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Walking and being active can improve your cognitive function

Neurological and cognitive disorders remain a highly ignored health concern in India to date

Dinesh Sareen 

Representative Image
Representative Image

Are you suffering from sudden onset of headaches or lack of concentration? Do you think your memory showing signs of slow deterioration? If yes, you may be suffering from disorders or cognitive problems, which include epilepsy, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and any other condition indicating a disruption in the brain’s normal functioning. Cognitive development is the build-up of the entire thought processes (including problem solving and decision-making skills) in individuals, right from childhood to adulthood.

Neurological and cognitive disorders remain a highly ignored concern in India to date. A large number of people either remain unaware of the seriousness of their condition or do not consult specialists considering it a normal part of ageing. While it is essential to underline these conditions require medical intervention to check the progression of disease and treat symptoms, it is also true that intellectual functioning in any age group can be improved by certain lifestyle changes.  In fact to some extent cognitive decline can even be prevented with physical activities.

A daily regime of 20-30 minutes exercise has many known benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues and diabetes, strengthening bones and muscles, and also reducing stress or anxiety. What many may not know is that cognitive can significantly get a boost with physical activities conducted on a daily basis.

A routine reduces symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, which are linked to blood vessel in the brain. Clinical evidence suggests exercising several times a week (for 30 to 60 minutes) may sharpen  reasoning and learning skills. It will also improve memory, judgment, and thinking skills for people with mild Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment. It can also delay the intensity of Alzheimer’s for people at high risk and slow the progress of the disease.

Exercise and nutrition play a very crucial role in providing enough oxygenated blood to brain cells and flushing away by-products of cell metabolism. Physical activity seems to help the brain not only by keeping your blood flow levels normal, but also by contributing to certain valuable chemicals that protect the brain from deteriorating. Physical activity also tends to counter some natural reduction in brain connections that occurs with aging. Studies in the recent past have shown that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function.

In a year-long study published recently in the of Sports Medicine, 65 numbers of aged people exercised daily, doing either an aerobic exercise program of for 40 minutes, or a non-aerobic programme of stretching and toning exercises. At the end of the trial, the group showed improved connectivity in the part of the brain engaged in daydreaming, envisioning the future, and recalling the past. The group also improved on executive function, and ability to plan and organise tasks (such as cooking a meal). Regular exercise and was, is, and will remain important to stay physically and mentally fit. It is time now to give your sedentary routine a break, and walk or exercise for the well-being of your brain.

First Published: Sat, September 09 2017. 21:10 IST