The Link Between Movement and Memory
I read an article in the New York Times the other day that talked about exercising in your youth being correlated to better memory when you get older.
Of course, the article talked about the results of the study:
The results, published last month in Neurology, are both notable and sobering. Those volunteers who had been the most fit as young adults, who had managed to run for more than 10 minutes before quitting, generally performed best on the cognitive tests in middle age. For every additional minute that someone had been able to run as a young adult, he or she could usually remember about one additional word from the lists and make one fewer mistake in distinguishing colors and texts.
In essence, the findings suggest that the ability to think well in middle age depends to a surprisingly large degree on your lifestyle as a young adult. “It looks like the roots of cognitive decline go back decades,” Dr. Jacobs said.
What I want to talk about is why I believe the results turned out the way they did.
I actually had a conversation with Pete Egoscue about this exact topic not long ago. He asked me how a 90-plus-year-old client of mine was doing–specifically, how his memory was. I told him that while my client was doing fairly well physically, I could tell that, mentally, he was “slipping” a bit.
When this client would tell me an “older” story, one about law school or his time in the Navy for example, he could recall those like they happened yesterday. He was able to paint a very clear, vivid picture of those days and events. However, when watching a basketball game with him one night, he asked me seven or eight times before halftime which team was wearing the red jerseys and which team was wearing the white jerseys. He had trouble remembering what day it was. Sometimes it took him a while to recall certain names of individuals he had recently met. The “new” stuff wasn’t sticking.
Pete explained that the new memories required energy that this client simply didn’t have. They required a high-functioning metabolic system. My client’s metabolic system wasn’t firing at its optimum level because his posture was compromised. Remember, that every system of the body depends on the posture/position of the body. When the body if “off,” the systems are “off” as well.
For example, those with asthma or cardiac issues are sure to have a compromised thoracic/upper body position. Those with digestive or reproductive issues are sure to have a compromised pelvic position. And as proven in the NY Times article, and my client’s experience, brain function is no different.
My client didn’t have the metabolic function to generate the proper energy necessary to recall “new” information. The old stuff was no big deal–easily recalled, as its been thought about, and therefore imprinted on the brain, for decades. The new stuff…well…not so much.
The results of this study make perfect sense to me. I believe that those who were active at a young age, continued to be active in their middle-ages. As a result, their metabolic system was operating and firing at a higher level than those who weren’t as active in their youth, and therefore weren’t as active as adults. The key to proper posture is proper motion. When you lose motion, you lose posture. When your posture becomes compromised, all the systems of the body suffer, including your metabolic system. A slow metabolic system means less energy; less ability to “recall” the new stuff.
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