The right exercises can also strengthen the brain

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Exercise has an integral relationship with our brains, giving them a boost as we age. (KABC)

Kathleen Trotter, who wrote "Finding Your Fit," knows the importance of activity for the body.

But she says exercise also has an integral relationship with our brains, giving them a boost as we age. She says even small bouts of movement provide benefits.

"Exercise makes you smarter. It helps with reasoning, multitasking, memory, planning, scheduling," said Trotter.

Aerobic exercise increase circulation and blood flow to the brain which in turn creates more neural pathways. But something called neurogenesis can occur with strength or weight bearing movement as well.

It's not enough just to do the movement. You also have to think about what you're doing and speak. The alliteration is movement, mind, and mouth.

"Speaking is really key. You can't just think about the problem. You have to say it out loud. It seems a little goofy but you've got to do it," Trotter said.

Take a grocery list for example. Do a heel lift on one leg and think of an item you need like apples. Do a squat and then say the next item - pears.

"I've got pears, I've got chicken as I do a standing balance turning my head," Trotter said.

Even at work try a scapular retraction. Squeeze your shoulder blades in together, which helps the upper back and posture.

"Try counting backwards from 101 in sets of seven" when doing the scapular retraction, Trotter suggested.

How about a partner challenge? Trotter had me squat to right and shout out TV actors when she named a show, squat to left and shout if it was a movie.

"You're getting the movement then you're getting the problem solving so you're going left and right hemisphere and then you're saying it out loud," Trotter explained why it's important to chat while exercising.

Related Topics:
healthfood coachexercisememory lossworkoutfitnesseducationCircle of Health
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