More reasons to get outside in nature this summer
As you know, I’m an unapologetic sun seeker. I crave the longer, hotter days that accompany this time of year—so that I can spend more time soaking up the beauty of nature.
And now that the weather is turning nicer in most parts of the country, it’s important that YOU spend some time moving about in nature, too.
Why? Well, for one, we know it helps improve your mental health, sleep, stress levels, blood pressure, and more.
Plus, according to a major, new Harvard study, spending more time outside protects your brain against THREE devastating diseases…
Nature’s remarkable brain boost
For this big study, Harvard researchers looked at 62 million adults ages 65 years and older. They observed how time spent in nature affected THREE major brain diseases.1
To start, the researchers recorded the participants’ zip codes. Then, they assessed their living environments, using satellite imagery.
And the results were quite clear…
Those who lived in zip codes with more “green space”—like a park—had much lower rates of hospitalization for three major brain diseases: Parkinson’s disease (PD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and dementia.
(That included vascular dementia—changes to memory, thinking, and behavior resulting from conditions that affect the blood vessels in the brain—and Lewy body dementia—changes in thinking, movement, behavior, and mood caused by abnormal deposits of a key protein in the brain.)
People who lived near “blue spaces”—or bodies of water—also had fewer hospitalizations for PD, but not for AD or dementia.
The researchers aren’t exactly sure how or why living near more green and blue spaces protects people from these three devastating brain diseases. But they think it has to do with the fact that spending time in immersive, natural landscapes reduces stress.
You see, when stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. And this hormone has been linked to memory and cognition problems. In fact, emerging research shows chronic stress may even CAUSE the neuropathology associated with the loss of brain synapses and dementia.2
Of course, we also know that people who live near natural environments tend to be much more active… which brings me to my next point.
Exercise is vital in the fight
for your brain
Nature and exercise often go hand-in-hand. And three recent studies underscore the importance of exercise to treating—and even preventing—brain diseases like AD.
In the first study, researchers looked at the effect of exercise on 200 people, ages 50 to 90, with mild to moderate AD.3
One group did three 60-minute sessions of moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise a week. The other group didn’t exercise regularly.
After 16 weeks, the exercise group had fewer common AD symptoms, including depression and anxiety.
They also performed better on tests that measured memory, language, and mental speed. Meaning that, even though they had AD, their cognition actually improved—simply because of exercising more!
In a second study from the University of Kansas, participants with AD again improved their memory test scores after routinely exercising.4 Plus, they increased the size of their hippocampus—an area of the brain important for learning and memory that’s typically impacted early in Alzheimer’s disease.
And in a third study, researchers with the University of Wisconsin found that exercise can even help PREVENT you from developing AD in the first place… even if you’re at high risk!
In fact, people over 60 who performed just 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week had a lower risk of EVER developing the disease… and had significantly fewer memory and cognitive problems.
Here again, researchers don’t exactly understand how exercise protects the brain. But WE know it has a lot to do with increasing the flow of oxygen-rich nutrients to the brain and improving blood vessel health.
In other words, exercise, in a way, helps “clear out the pipes” and reduce the build-up of plaque and cholesterol in the blood vessels that lead to the brain.
Build your exercise routine,
I find all this research incredibly important and useful—as these types of cognitive brain disorders are the leading cause of disability and the second-leading cause of death worldwide.
Not to mention, they cost Americans nearly $350 billion dollars a year! And mainstream health “experts” still haven’t figured out why these brain diseases continue to plague us—or even how to slow their progression.
So, as we head into summer and have more daylight, now is the perfect time to get serious about establishing a regular exercise routine. And yes—I encourage you to move your body outside in nature, as this research shows you’ll get the double the brain benefits!
Overall, aim for 150 minutes of physical activity weekly. Your body—and especially your brain—will reap the tremendous, long-term benefits.
For additional suggestions on how to “revitalize your workouts” this summer, take a look back at the June 2022 issue of Logical Health Alternatives. To access this issue, simply go to my website, www.DrPescatore.com, and log in using the “Subscriber” button at the far right of the blue navigation bar.
For more in-depth guidance on how to protect and restore memory, strengthen focus, and fight dementia, I encourage you to check out my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan. To learn more about this comprehensive online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3Z501.
- “Associations of Greenness, Parks, and Blue Space With Neurodegenerative Disease Hospitalizations Among Older US Adults.” JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(12):e2247664. doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.47664
- “The Influence of Chronic Stress on Dementia-Related Diagnostic Change in Older Adults.” Dis Assoc Disord. 2012 Jul; 26(3): 260–266. doi.org/10.1097/WAD.0b013e3182389a9c
- “How exercise Helps Curb Alzheimer’s Symptoms.” TIME, 7/23/15 (time.com/3968683/exercise-treatment-for-alzheimers/)
- “Exercise may lower risk for cognitive decline.” Alzheimer’s Association, fall 2020. (org/news/2020/a-mental-workout)