Regularly engaging in aerobic activity, such as running, brisk walking, riding, rowing, swimming, and other similar activities, is the most beneficial kind of exercise for both the heart and the brain. In addition to these benefits, it will help you have a better night’s sleep, boost your energy, and prevent depression. Aerobic exercise can help you lose weight and lower your risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
For seniors, swimming is probably the most beneficial because when you swim you get a whole body workout that increases the flexibility and strength of your joints without risking injury. Also, there is something very Zen about swimming; while you swim, your mind is free to float from topic to topic in a calming, meditative way that reduces stress.
If you don’t like athletic activities, try dancing. “Dancing with a partner is the best physical exercise for mind interaction, because you have to be thinking all the time.”
Does yoga have aerobic benefits?
Yoga doesn’t provide the aerobic benefits you need. Yoga is classified as an anaerobic exercise.
However, Yoga is especially good for your brain when you hold poses that involve positioning your head below the rest of your body, such as a headstand, shoulder stand or Downward-Facing Dog.
By increasing blood flow to your brain, you are giving it a vital shot of oxygen. Remember tip-top cognition is not too useful if you can’t get out of bed or your chair and enjoy the world. Likewise, tip-top physical fitness is useless if you can’t remember why you want to get up out of that chair!
Really Serious Brain Exercise
As with physical exercise, there are different levels of brain exercise. If you want to move beyond “jogging” to “marathon running,” you can take up major challenges such as learning a foreign language, mastering a musical instrument or even flying an airplane.
Many people sign up for adult education courses. If you live near a university, you might even be able to monitor some classes, where you sit in on the lectures and read the textbooks without paying tuition or taking the tests.
A fun way to seriously train your brain is to travel to exotic places where you’ll have to use your wits to get around and where you can study the local culture, experience new sights and sounds and meet interesting people. To get the most out of this, you need to stay in one place for a while. Six weeks in Kampala might do the trick, particularly if you try things you’ve never tried before, take notes and photos and remember as much as you can. You can also aim to start learning the language, really get to know people and become part of a local social group. (Paris or any other city with an unfamiliar language will also fill the bill if you aren’t feeling quite so adventuresome.)
The old maxim, “Use it or lose it,” applies—and the harder the challenge, the better. Just think of the London cab drivers and what they have to go through to learn thousands of street names and places, in addition to remembering where they are in relation to each other. If cab drivers can do this, you can learn to speak Russian, play a violin, hike through woods until you identify all the birds in North America, and become a chess master!
How can elderly increase their aerobic capacity?
There are a few different ways that the elderly can increase their aerobic capacity. One way is to participate in regular physical activity. This can include things like walking, biking, swimming, or even gardening.
Ageility suggests two to five days of aerobic activity per week, with a maximum exercise length of 20 to 60 minutes each session. A workout intensity of 60% to 90% of maximum heart rate is appropriate, while training at 75% of maximum heart rate may be optimal.
Another way is to make sure that they are eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Finally, they can also try taking supplements that are designed to increase aerobic capacity.