Harvard researchers recently performed a study that actually proved sitting is just as bad as smoking. Of course, I am not advising you to start smoking, but I am advising you to get off your behind and start exercising today. Most people have heard all about the benefits of exercise; when you exercise, the body releases endorphins, which make you feel great and benefit both your physical and mental health.
The best time to exercise is in the morning because that is when your testosterone and cortisol levels are highest. Morning exercise will reduce anxiety and give you more energy throughout the day. The most productive way to exercise is to do activities that you love and enjoy. If you hate running on a treadmill, it will take much more effort to convince yourself to get on the treadmill every day. You need to find something fun that will help motivate you to be consistent with your physical routine. Personally, I love to ride my bike, rollerblade, swim, and dance, as well as play basketball, tennis, and soccer. It is important to mix up your exercise routine every day to challenge your brain and body and develop different muscle groups. For example, on Monday, ride a bike; on Tuesday, power walk; on Wednesday, do some pushups or sit-ups; on Thursday, take a dance class; on Friday, go for a hike; on Saturday, go kayaking on a lake; on Sunday, take a yoga or Pilates class. The key is to find activities you like to do.
Another recommendation I often give patients is to make use of their time with their kids by combining it with their daily exercise. Having children is not an excuse to stop working out. For example, I do pushups with one of my sons sitting on top of my back and sit-ups while holding my five-year-old in my arms. If you enjoy being outside, get a running stroller or a bike with a child seat attachment and take your children with you as you exercise. Bringing them along will also instill healthy habits in the kids, and they will learn from your good example.
Gardening can be used as a way to exercise, as well. Manually sawing branches, picking up large pieces of wood, digging holes in the dirt, removing roots, moving rocks, lifting heavy bags of mulch, and squatting down to weed are all workouts! And it’s not only gardening that can be a workout; every activity can be used to strengthen your body and increase daily movements. If you go shopping, you can use the bags as weights. Start doing bicep curls and shoulder lifts with your shopping bags. When you do laundry, you can use the basket to do squats. When you take out the garbage, do some lunges. These weight-resistant activities are exercises that will help your brain and, in addition, help prevent osteoporosis.
I mention these activities because the gym isn’t for everyone. The solution is to find an activity you love and stick with it. Just make sure you do things that make you sweat and get your heart beating faster, and add in weight-resistant activities to get the most out of your exercise routine. Starting a real workout regimen will not just improve your general health and well-being, but it will also decrease your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease in the future and boost your brainpower by improving memory and focus.
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. For more information and advice on rewiring your brain to prevent Alzheimer’s and improve your memory and focus, I’m offering a 50% discount on the pre-order my new book, Boost Your BrainPower (usually $20!) Visit www.kaplandc.com/boostyourbrainpower by Monday, October 28th to order your discounted copy for just $10!
If you or someone you know are interested in learning about Alzheimer’s disease, I am giving a FREE lecture in my Emerson, NJ office on Saturday, November 23rd at 2:00 pm. Seating is limited, so call 201-261-2150 today to reserve your spot.