It’s 3:00 am. My feet hit the floor and I take my morning assessment. I can stand on my own. Good. Tummy tight? Good. I walk into the living room after hitting the coffee button. Last night, Sunday, I hit the sack at 6:45. Needed eye shades. I have been clocking nearly 25 miles a day on my bike. It caught up with me.
As I lean over to lace up my sneakers, I notice how tight I am. The good tight. Biceps pump as I pull on the laces. We all know that feeling. The body’s way of saying thank you for doing the right things.
I look over at the recliner where I usually set my belt with water bottles, headphones, iPhone and a sweet potato wrapped in tin foil as insurance against an unexpected blood sugar drop on my way to Nashua. 22 miles, round trip.
There was a time when just the drive would have wiped me out.
This morning I’m feeling it in my knees a bit. Today will be my sixth day in a row and like everything I do, I tend to overdo it. The mind says, “Really Bob? Are we going to do this ritual until it wears you out?”
After I lace up and sit back on the couch to enjoy my first sip of coffee, I’m thinking maybe I’m should do something else at first light instead of my ride. But I am a junkie in every sense of the word.
Then my recorded version of 60 Minutes pops up on the screen. The second segment is on Alzheimer’s. Yikes! I quickly shut it off and start Googling. My research concludes:
Exercise has many known benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, strengthening the bones and muscles and reducing stress.
It also appears that regular physical activity benefits the brain. Studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Keep thinking, reasoning and learning skills sharp for healthy individuals
- Improve memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills (cognitive function) for people with mild Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment
- Delay the start of Alzheimer’s for people at risk of developing the disease or slow the progress of the disease
Physical activity seems to help the brain not only by keeping your blood flowing but also by increasing chemicals that protect the brain. Physical activity also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occurs with aging.
More research is needed to know to what degree adding physical activity improves memory or slows the progression of cognitive decline. Nonetheless, regular exercise is important to stay physically and mentally fit.
Last one to Nashua is a dirty rat 🙂