Do you remember being skinny? If you are overweight, you may not. New research is suggesting, due to ongoing trends, that the brains of overweight or obese people may be working harder than the brains of those within normal weight ranges. Because of this hyperactive work that obese brains portray, normal functions like memory, decision-making and impulse control become impaired. This is not an excuse to run over to the cabinet and grab cookies because you “can’t control your impulses”, but impaired impulse control is a factor that makes losing weight difficult. Often when previously obese individuals are interviewed after they’ve lost weight and are currently in a maintenance stage, they refer back to the choices they would make and have a difficult time describing what was going though their mind as they ate and ate more. They all report being “miserable” and “trapped”. It is often only when the weight is gone, the light is on and the brain is thinking clearly that people see themselves as they truly were.
So why would the brain of an obese person be working harder? We all know the heart has to work harder in overweight individuals, but the reason the brain works harder lies in one vicious cycle: inflammation. High blood pressure also plays a role, and when you couple the two together, you have a recipe for heart trouble and brain disaster. The communication systems of the brain are interfered with and the only option left is for your memory to suffer. Blood vessels throughout the body can become damaged, including those that link to brain cells. You get “belly brain”, and your brain can actually shrink in size – no joke!
As if you needed one more reason to exercise regularly, obesity has also been linked to dementia, because of the same inflammation issue. This circuits in the brain that become affected are often those needed for memory. Without memory, dementia rears it’s ugly head.
Exercise can benefit your memory even if you aren’t obese. The increased bloodflow helps increase your focus. Drinking plenty of water should be a requisite for exercise, and this hefty supply of H2O also lubricates the brain and gives it the necessary fuel to keep it working properly. Regular exercise also aids in proper sleep patterns. Getting enough shuteye keeps your brain healthy. The plan is simple: monitor any brain effects and prevent these memory-loss symptoms before they happen with regular exercise. Keep your body and your brain young and full of memory.