Think Neuro

16. Exercise Your Body to Keep Your Brain Strong | Dr. Sarah McEwen

Episode Summary

Dr. Sarah McEwen has wanted to be a brain scientist since she was a kid. At an early age, she realized that exercise made her feel good. Later, she learned why: Physical activity can change the brain because of something called neuroplasticity. The brain isn’t static. It changes and adapts. And that’s one of the most amazing things about an already amazing organ. Strangely enough, doing a Zumba class may strengthen your brain more than six hours of Sudoku. Not only does exercise create new neurons, it also creates new blood vessels to feed them, and it washes away inflammatory compounds called cytokines. McEwen, a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, studies all the ways exercise contributes to brain health. She created PNI’s FitBrain group exercise program, aimed at protecting participants from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia as they age. It’s potent medicine. In one study, people who were active during midlife were 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s in old age than their sedentary counterparts. All of this excites Dr. McEwen, an avid exerciser herself. Listen to this episode to learn more about how you can tone your brain by toning your body. For more information: | (310) 582-7640