Why Going to the Gym May Help Your Brain Function

Do you get enough exercise? Researchers have long known that regular exercise can lower the risk of health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Now a recent study in Scientific Reports indicates that there may be another benefit from an active lifestyle—the brain.

Researchers from the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland, studied 249 people with an average age of 79. Researchers found that those who performed the most vigorous exercise had faster, more efficient responses than those who exercised moderately, and the fastest response time was in the brain’s white matter.

What’s white matter?

White matter is the connective tissue that carries information between different regions of the brain. Specifically, white matter is linked to memory, problem solving, and memory in people over 80.

How is exercise linked to white matter?

The researchers determined that the speed of response time was connected to the amount of oxygen in the blood. Specifically, higher levels of oxygen in the blood means more oxygen in the brain.

Why is exercise important for the brain?

There are a number of health benefits associated with a healthy and fit lifestyle, but now there’s evidence that certain activities may help improve white matter in our brains as we age.

If you can incorporate physical activity into your life in any kind of fashion, your body, brain, and brain cells are likely to benefit. You can get started by taking part in weekly yoga classes, walking with a friend at lunch, or taking a dance class. But you don’t have to break a sweat to reap the benefits—just go to the grocery store, nap, or relax and enjoy some slow, mindful movement.

You may also be able to benefit from certain types of meditation. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation may reduce stress and increase cognitive function, and may be one of the most proven things to have a positive impact on brain health.


Sleep In Your Bed?

Couples who sleep in the same bed have a better quality of sleep and poorer incidence of depression, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

How do you know if you sleep in the same bed? Think about it. Does it look comfortable? Are you awake at night but remain in the same bed? Is the bed warm or cool? What about pillows? Are they comfortable?

Among the general population, couples typically sleep in separate bedrooms because of their lifestyle. However, different people sleep at different speeds in bed, and a study revealed that couples who sleep in separate bedrooms tend to prefer being in bed with each other for a variety of reasons—some because of their perspective, while others may be emotionally-related.

For couples, being in the same bed is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to think carefully about when, where, and with whom you sleep and explore your preferences in terms of body temperature, room temperature, and pillows. Also, remember to consult your doctor if you experience headaches, heartburn, nausea, or other strange symptoms that occur during bedtime.

Using each bedroom for one’s own activities can be less stressful.

Encountering your opposite number at night also can create an opportunity to discuss different ways of communicating—whether it’s during intercourse or over the phone.

For example, a couple that uses the same bed and share a computer or computer headset may talk over each other’s shoulder when they can in their own beds. Communication during sex is a different matter, but both are examples of building intimacy and communication by having an open dialogue.

If you want to learn more about how to make your bedroom the perfect space for you and your significant other, visit coupleshealth.org/comfortsomebed.

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