This month’s Take Charge of Your Health topic is about the impact exercise can have on cognitive functioning. Cognitive functions are brain-based skills needed to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. When people have trouble remembering simple tasks, learning new things, reasoning or problem-solving, they have a cognitive impairment. This impairment can range from mild to severe and is more common as people age.
There are many ways to combat cognitive impairment. One way is through exercise. Of its many benefits, exercise increases a person’s heart rate, which pumps more oxygen and other nutrients to the brain to keep it healthy. Another cognitive benefit of exercise is that it reduces stress, which may help people cope with life’s challenges. Now, more than ever, as we continue to deal with effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, having a strong coping mechanism is important.
COVID-19 has changed the way we live. In terms of exercising, the pandemic has left people scrambling to find creative ways to exercise at home. There are still many things that we can do to keep our bodies and minds moving inside our homes and in our communities while we may not have access to gyms. As the weather warms up, it’s a great time to get outside for a walk or a jog because one thing remains certain—exercising both your brain and body is one important way that you can take charge of your health today.
Esther L. Bush, President and CEO
Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh