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Stick with it

It’s January 2 as I write this and I know that lots of you are already wavering about your new year’s resolutions – well, hey, it’s nearly 48 hours that you’ve had to stick with your resolve, which for most of us, is roughly 43 hours longer than we’ve ever managed to do before, especially of course, if we’ve resolved to do more exercise.

That – and healthy eating, too – are probably the most common new year’s resolutions and usually the toughest ones to stick to.

But the important message is that they both pay off significantly in the long run, so here’s my note of encouragement to stick with your plan to be more active: it will pay off – and in spades – by helping preserve your brain function, and none of us can afford to lose much brain function.

How important is regular exercise for your brain?

Very, according to a study of 2,013 German individuals which was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings and which concluded that any exercise that gets your heart pumping – for me, I believe I get that effect just by walking up the stairs in my house regularly from my kitchen to my office, which often amounts to an extra 12 or 15 flights of stairs a day (I like to snack) – leads to an increase (or at the very least much less of a decrease) in brain volume and especially in the gray matter of the brain, which is of course, the part of the brain that’s supposed to be most important in cognition.

Doesn’t really matter what you’ve chosen to do: walk, cycle, run, climb stairs, but choose something that you can at least tolerate (I would never choose swimming, for example, because I am psychologically allergic to getting wet for more than 2 minutes at a time, especially when it’s cold – but whatever it is, stick to it.

Your brain – and your family – will eventually thank you for sticking to your exercise regime.