Dealing with the Aging Brain
Causes of brain fatigue: My Functional Medicine teacher, Dr Datis, once pointed out that if you use your brain for a living, you can feel fatigued at the end of the day even though you were just sitting in a chair all day. Well, it never dawned on me that could be the cause of my fatigue! Lots of us, especially practitioners, sit in a chair all day, and it isn’t particularly stressful but we’re tired at the end of the day.
Well, that cause of brain fatigue might not be caused by a body problem (low thyroid, low red blood cells etc.) but by the constant use of our brain all day. If you make you living using your brain, and will need to do that for some years, invest in your brain health with exercise and supplements.
Blood Pressure and Brain Health
Now once a day, I exercise for my brain. I have really low blood pressure and always thought that was a plus. It is a plus for heart health but for brain health it is a minus! If the pressure in your arteries is low, then the brain is going to have hard time getting oxygen it needs. The brain needs a lot of oxygen to stay healthy. Low blood pressure is one of the causes of brain fatigue. Exercise is one of the best ways to provide this improved oxygen though increase blood flow. The brain also needs balanced blood glucose and stimulation (from your sense and from exercise).
Causes of Brain Fatigue: No Physical Exercise
Physical exercise has a protective effect on the brain and its mental processes, and people who exercised were less likely to lose their mental abilities or develop dementia. In a study published this month in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers examined the role of aerobic exercise in preserving cognitive abilities and concluded that it should be considered an important therapy against dementia.
Aerobic Exercise for Brain
Aerobic exercise (I’m talking about a nice brisk 30 minute walk once a day), slows the loss of gray matter which is the part of the brain that atrophies as we age. The denser the gray matter is in a particular part of the brain, the more intelligence or skill the person is likely to have.
Exercise stimulates brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in the brain. Recent research from UCLA, demonstrated that exercise increased growth factors in the brain- making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.
Exercise seems to increase the major neurotransmitters, the feel good chemicals in our brains.
You may not think of strength training as “brain exercise,” but a workout that increases overall muscle mass also helps maintain your brain health, especially when done in conjunction with cardio training.
So if you have a hard time exercising for your body, see if you are motivated to do it to keep your brain healthy…