Research is suggesting more and more that exercise seems to benefit us as much cognitively as it does physically. Exercise leads to beneficial changes in our brains, including the birth of new neurons and increased connections among existing ones.
One of the ways in which physical activity seems to induce this neuroplasticity is by increasing production of a protein called BrainDerived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). This protein promotes neuron growth and survival. Recent research suggests that cognitively engaging the brain during physical activity enhances this process.
All of our classes here at the Fitness and Wellness Center at Elim Park incorporate a variety of mental challenges while performing physical exercise. Whether it be following along different steps in a Zumba Gold class; practicing different movements and postures in a Meditation to Movement Class; or being asked to perform movements that challenge our proprioception in our land and water classes, such as making different sized circles with your arms with your eyes closed, drawing the alphabet with one heel while standing on your opposite foot, or touching your thumb tips together over the top of your head in which you cannot see; including all of these cognitive challenges during exercise is the most effective strategy leading to beneficial changes in our brains.
If you haven’t already, please stop down to the Fitness and Wellness Center to take a quick assessment so that our fitness staff can suggest to you the appropriate classes to begin your journey to better physical and cognitive health.
See you soon!