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How Cardiovascular Exercise Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

Many people assume that the sole purpose of chiropractic is to treat and relieve back and neck pain. However, most of our practice members in the ann arbor area view us as a critical source of their overall health care.

Over the years, the topic of mental health has come up with many clients.

It is often in reference to depression, anxiety, dementia, or memory retention. I commonly speak about the critical connection between cardiovascular exercise and mental health.


Most of us are aware of the benefits of getting regular cardiovascular exercise. We know that it reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity and hypertension. It also helps to build bone density and muscle mass. However, did you know that it is also critical to the health of your brain?

Exercise releases chemicals that decrease insulin resistance, inflammation and promote the healing and restoration of brain cells.

Exercise is also shown to increase the size of a portion of the brain known as the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory.

Exercise has been shown to be an effective tool to help individuals suffering the manifestations of dementia and Alzheimer’s. A 32 years study of over 2200 men found that exercise reduces the risk of dementia. The study also indicated that factors such as not smoking, decreasing alcohol intake and low body weight had a positive impact as well.

Another study compared how teenagers that completed cardiovascular exercise retained study material versus those that did not.

Teenagers that exercised displayed an increased ability to retain information. Exercise may actually help to develop long-term connections in the memory portion of the brain.

You may not be surprised that cardiovascular exercise can help with depression and anxiety. It not only helps to take your mind off of things that may be troubling, it has a distinct physiological affect. Exercise releases feel good hormones and chemicals while decreasing some of the chemicals that can worsen depression.

I’m sure you were already aware that exercise is beneficial. However, keep in mind that it not only helps with weight loss and heart health. Rather, it positively impacts the mind body and soul.

Simply walking is a great start in the right direction.

If you are unsure of how to get started on an appropriate cardiovascular exercise program, contact your physician. In my chiropractic center in Ann Arbor, we often make recommendations for exercise that are achievable both in the long term and short term.

Posted By Dr. Ryan Burke

Ann Arbor Chiropractor, Dr. Ryan Burke uses state of the art equipment and analysis to deliver gentle and precise adjustments to correct structural shifts in patients' spines. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Life University, Dr. Burke has received advanced training in pre-natal and pediatric adjusting as well as clinical nutrition, functional lab testing and pediatric health disorders.

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