Ep. 046 – The Positive Impacts of Aerobic Exercise

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Good morning and welcome to Episode 046 of the Train Your Brain Podcast with Dr. Michael Trayford. Every Monday we produce a 30-minute episode. Tuesday through Sunday we produce episodes with five-minute tips. Every episode of the Train Your Brain Podcast features a tip, so you can receive pointers 365 days a year that will help enhance the performance of your brain!

In Episode 046, Dr. Trayford shares an exercise tip to help you get the most out of your workout. If you are physically able, make sure to gradually include brisk walking or jogging into your rotation. This type of aerobic activity has many benefits for muscle growth, heart capacity, and red blood cells, which means more oxygen to the brain. Join us to learn more!

If you have any concerns regarding the information and applications discussed in this podcast, please consult your physician and a doctor who is experienced in functional neurology. Michael Trayford DC, DACNB is available for consultation by calling (828) 708-5274. Thanks for listening.

Aerobic exercise is an umbrella term for a wide range of physical activities. It involves activities that require oxygen for the cells involved. While there can be a great deal of science involved, the bottom line is that it’s an exercise that gets your heart pumping at a faster rate and get you using more oxygen.

In contrast we have an aerobic exercise, which is a state where your cells cannot get enough oxygen to fuel the activity and they start burning other things, primarily carbohydrates and sugars in the blood stream. Most of the cells in your body prefer to use oxygen as their primary metabolic fuel. This is especially true for the brain.

The point where your body goes from burning oxygen to burning carbohydrates is called the aerobic threshold. As a general rule of thumb: if you can do a particular exercise and still talk, then you’re still within your aerobic threshold.

Even if you’re a little out of shape and not talking well, as long as you’re able to put together a coherent sentence without having to stop, you’re still within the aerobic threshold. With regular daily exercise, your cardiovascular fitness and aerobic threshold will gradually start to improve.

Improved cardiovascular fitness also increases your number of red blood cells, which use hemoglobin to transport oxygen throughout your body. There’s a host of benefits, including angiogenesis, which is the production of new blood vessels. This means you’ve got more oxygen going to the parts of the body that need it, which also includes the brain. Which is especially important because the blood vessels in the brain are relatively small.

Exercise also improves mental health, reduces stress, and improves problems with depression. Exercise in particular, has been touted as the best medication for depression. While I do acknowledge that there is a time and place for medication, by and large the best long-term treatment for depression is exercise. Even if you do require medication to manage your depression, exercise should be included as part of your treatment plan.

Exercise also has benefits for cognitive ability. Some people have been shown to do better on certain types of tests when they get regular exercise.

Finally, we can also look at a reduced risk of developing diabetes, namely Type-2 Diabetes. Many studies have shown that Hemoglobin A1C levels are reduced in diabetics and blood sugar handling is improved in non-diabetics. This is important, because it shows us that we can turn around diabetes, and pre-diabetes.

If you are out of shape but want to add regular exercise into your lifestyle, seek advice from your health care provider. They can help you find the exercise program that is right for you.

If you have concerns about hip, knee or other joint problems, we recommend that you do talk to your healthcare provider to see what you’re capable of doing. They might refer you to a physical therapist or somebody that can assess a little bit further to determine what level of activity you are capable of.

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