By Dr. Mercola
Researchers have suggested that exercise is "the best preventive drug" for many common ailments, from psychiatric disorders to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Even your risk for age-related hearing loss is reduced through exercise. Physical fitness has also been linked to brain health, and is an important adjunct strategy to prevent dementia.
In fact, compelling evidence shows that physical exercise helps build a brain that not only resists shrinkage, but increases cognitive abilities and creativity. Researchers at Stanford University found that walking can increase creativity up to 60 percent. Even a casual stroll around your office can be helpful when you’re short on solutions.
Even more importantly, we now know that exercise promotes a process known as neurogenesis, i.e., your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells, regardless of your age. Exercise also promotes mental health by normalizing insulin resistance and boosting natural “feel good” hormones and neurotransmitters associated with mood control, including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate and GABA.
Most recently, Canadian researchers found high-intensity workouts helped boost memory by improving hippocampal function — a finding they say could prove to be an important prevention strategy against Alzheimer’s disease, the most serious and deadly form of dementia. A recent scientific review also concluded that aerobic exercise increases left hippocampal volume, which also benefits specific memory functions.