Best Exercise for you brain? Cardio!
The mental benefits of heart-pumping workouts aren't confined to better moods; cardio also seems to improve our memory and may even guard against some of the detrimental effects of aging. Those boons suggest cardio may help defend the brain against physical changes that come with age.
A study published in May found that in adults aged 60-88, walking for 30 minutes four days a week for 12 weeks, appeared to strengthen connectivity in a region of the brain where weakened connections have been linked with memory loss. A recent study in older women who displayed potential symptoms of dementia found that aerobic exercise was linked with an increase in the size of the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning and memory.
If you're over 50, a study in the British Medical Journal suggests the best results come from combining aerobic and resistance exercise, which could include anything from high-intensity interval training, like the 7-minute workout, to dynamic flow yoga, which intersperses strength-building poses like planks and push-ups with heart-pumping dance-like moves.
5 Habits Can Add 14 Healthy Years to Your Life (According to Science)
Science confirms what we know from our research and study of centenarians in “Blue Zones” regions. The longest-lived people in the world share nine commonalities: they move naturally in their daily lives; eat a plant-slant diet, go to happy hour and drink Wine at 5; they wake up in the morning with purpose; find ways to down shift and shed stress; eat to 80 percent full; belong to faith-based communities; always put family first; and have close friends with similar values – we call these the Power 9.
According to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, five very similar lifestyle habits have been shown to increase life expectancy at age 50 by 12 to 14 years. The study is the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of adopting low-risk lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the U.S.
Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the following to determine how they affect longevity:
- Not smoking
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regularly exercising
- Keeping a healthy body weight
- Moderate alcohol consumption
Along with lifestyle and medical data from adults in the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), as well as mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers determined that in the more than 30 years of follow-up, following all five lifestyle habits improved projected life expectancy at age 50 by 14.0 years for women and 12.2 years for men.
“This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the U.S. population,” said Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low. Therefore, public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles.”
In Blue Zones Project communities, our team of experts works with local municipalities to make the healthy choice the easy and unavoidable choice by transforming the built environment and creating food policies that ensure that health isn’t necessarily pursued by citizens, but rather it ensues from the right environment.
500 Calorie Breakfast
Blueberry Corn Cakes
- 1 cup finely ground cornmeal
- ½ cup spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (Tip - small frozen blueberries work best for this recipe)
- Fruit sauce, for serving (optional)
- 1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- 2. Add the milk, maple syrup, and vanilla and stir just until combined. Fold in the blueberries and let the batter sit for 5 minutes.
- 3. Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Pour about ¼ cup of batter per pancake onto the hot griddle and cook until the pancakes are bubbly on top and the edges are slightly dry, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until the pancakes are browned on the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes or so. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with optional fruit sauce.
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