For Optimal Brain and Nervous System Health, You Need to Exercise Your Leg Muscles
By Dr. Mercola
By Dr. Mercola
· Physical exercise, especially strength training, is important for healthy brain and nervous system function. A number of studies have linked leg muscle strength in particular to various cognitive benefits
· Research shows that whenever you’re unable to perform load-bearing exercises, you not only lose muscle mass, your body chemistry is impacted in such a way that your nervous system and brain also deteriorate
· By not using your leg muscles, a gene called CDK5Rap1 is adversely impacted, and this gene plays an important role in mitochondrial health and function. This is yet another important reason for getting weight-bearing exercise
· Weight-bearing against gravity itself is a crucial component of life that allows the human body and brain to function optimallyWhile exercise influences brain health in several ways, one key factor is related to its ability to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which rejuvenates both muscle and brain tissue
Daily Walking and a Four-Minute Daily Workout — A Winning Combo Most People Can Do
There's little doubt that — aside from poor diet — inactivity is a major driver of most of our current disease epidemics, starting with obesity, which now affects nearly 40 percent of adults, over 18 percent of teens and nearly 14 percent of children. In addition to a wide array of health problems, obesity is also a risk factor for Alzheimer's, which is now the third leading cause of death, right behind heart disease and cancer.
Nonexercise movement along with regular workouts could go a long way toward improving these troubling statistics. Most people spend 10 hours or more sitting down each day, and sitting for more than eight hours a day is associated with a 90 percent increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, along with increased risks of heart disease, cancer and all-cause mortality.28 The answer is to move more, including during work hours.
One solution that can work for many is to get a standup desk. Simply bearing weight on your two legs produce a biochemical cascade that cuts your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. Walking more is another key solution. Rather than opting for convenience, take every opportunity you can to walk (or bicycle) rather than drive. Park further away; take the stairs rather than the elevator and so on.
In addition to daily walking (I recommend aiming for 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day), consider doing some form of regimented exercise each day. It doesn't have to take a lot of your time. In the video below, I demonstrate a four-minute high-intensity exercise that will boost your nitric oxide level, a molecule that feeds your muscles and dilates your blood vessels, allowing for better flood flow and oxygenation of all tissues, including your brain.
While the movements are really simple, and require no exercise equipment, they work 16 of your largest muscle groups. A typical four-minute workout entails three sets of 10 repetitions, but you can eventually work toward increasing it to 20. Done two or three times a day, spaced at least two hours apart, the Nitric Oxide Dump exercise is an extremely effective and efficient way to give your physical and cognitive health a boost.
The new year brings new hope and, for many, new fitness goals. Maybe you’re committed to spend more time in the gym. Or maybe you’re eager to learn a new exercise (or two) that you can add to your workout routine.
Whatever your fitness goal may be, remember this: There’s more to staying healthy than just exercising. If you’re truly determined to stick to your health goals and achieve long-lasting success, then you should check out my All-Time Top 30 Health Tips.
Whether you’re a fit and healthy person who wants to maintain your shape or you’re just starting out, these tips are exactly what you need to start the year on a positive note. These strategies are taken from the 30 most-viewed Mercola articles, and include learnings such as:
· Effective methods that can help boost men’s testosterone levels
· The nutrients that are vital to your health, but many are missing out on
· Healthy eating tips that can best complement your fitness regimen
And that’s just the start! new tip is provided for each day of January, so you have something to look forward to every day!