Savers are well versed in the bone-building benefits of regular weight-bearing exercise. But increases in bone density and quality aren't the only reason to prioritize physical activity.
Two studies published this year chronicle the discovery of new and remarkable effects of exercise. Participants in these studies saw marked improvements that ranged from improved memory function to a deeper sense of purpose in life.
We'll take a closer look at these findings so you learn how to reap the same benefits– all while strengthening your bones and enhancing your overall health.
Exercise For A Sharper Brain
Unfortunately, our brains can become less sharp as we age, and our memory can deteriorate if cognitive function declines.
Researchers at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J conducted an experiment to reveal whether exercise can increase the flexibility of our brain's neural networks. In particular, they examined the medial temporal lobes which contain the hippocampus— the core of our memory center.
Thirty-four healthy older adults participated in the study. After an initial brain scan and assessment of memory and cognitive function, half of the participants joined an exercise group and the other half joined a sedentary control group. The exercise group attended one-hour aerobic dance classes twice a week.1
After twenty weeks, the researchers brought all 34 participants back for another round of brain scans and evaluations. Remarkably, they found that the exercise group's brains displayed more dynamic activity than the sedentary control group's brains. This activity included synchronized activation of different parts of their medial temporal lobes. The researchers believe this activity was the brain forging new connections.1
In the tests the participants took, this heightened activity correlated to an enhanced ability to remember and apply newly learned information. Exercise worked against the effects of aging to help these participants keep their brains agile and capable.1
Researchers found that a 20-week aerobic exercise program increased the activity of participants' brains, as well as their ability to use newly learned information. A control group that didn't exercise did not experience increased brain activity or cognitive function.
Physical Activity And A Sense Of Purpose Go Hand In Hand
A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that exercise and having a sense of purpose in life were mutually reinforcing. People who exercised regularly had a greater sense of purpose than people who did not, and people with a sense of purpose tended to have higher rates of physical activity.2
Researchers confirmed this association using data from 14,159 American adults. Survey answers provided information about their physical activity levels, physical and mental health, and their sense of purpose in life.
The impact of exercise on sense of purpose was stark among older adults. Those who remained active as they aged were more likely to feel that their lives had purpose and direction. But older adults whose exercise levels declined with age also lost their sense of purpose.2
The lead author of the study, Ayse Yemiscigil, was unsurprised at the result, given how regular exercise can build a consistent routine, a social community, and a sense that our time has been spent on something meaningful and worthwhile.
For Savers, this understanding of the significance of exercise is compounded. We know that exercise stimulates the development of new bone mass. That makes physical activity a profoundly powerful and meaningful activity for anyone who wants to prevent or reverse osteoporosis.
That meaningfulness can help us to stay connected to a sense of purpose in life. And then, that sense of purpose will help us keep up with our exercise routine, since we need to stay healthy and strong to achieve our goals. These two factors continue to reinforce each other in a beautiful positive feedback loop.
Both the inner peace that comes with a feeling of purpose, and the regular exercise that supports it and is supported by it, will help you take care of your bones. Mental and physical factors are often intertwined in this way. The holistic approach of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program addresses both sides of the equation.
Researchers found that people who exercised regularly were more likely to have a sense of purpose, and that having a sense of purpose made people more likely to exercise. This positive feedback loop is beneficial to Savers, because you need exercise to strengthen your bones, and building stronger bones is a goal that contributes to a sense of purpose.
What This Means To You
Keep up your physical activity levels, both for your bone health and for the incredible ability of exercise to keep your brain sharp and your life purposeful.
These studies perfectly encapsulate why the Save Institute created SaveTrainer. Exercise offers a seemingly endless array of important benefits and Save Trainer makes it easy to keep up your routine. You get personalized workouts focused on bone health, balance, flexibility, and more– all led by trained professionals and available on any device at any time.
Along with stronger bones, exercise offers the benefits described in the studies above, and in the countless studies before them. Keep your body moving, your mind sharp, and your bones strong!