The Value of Aquatic Therapy for Brain Health as We Age
There is one thing that we all have in common and that is, we all get older with each day. Thankfully, modern medicine has made significant advancements with time to enhance the longevity of our lives. That leaves each of us to figure out how to create ways to live our best life with the highest quality, especially into our golden years. We all know the importance of being physically active and moving to maintain our mobility but what about ways to improve our brain health? Alzheimer’s is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Knowing this, is there anything that we can do to enhance our brain health and memory? Check out the exciting research on how water exercise is improving the function of the brain.
What Effect Does Water Immersion Have on the Brain?
• Research has proven aquatic immersion to have a positive impact on circulation to the brain through the anterior, middle and posterior cerebral arteries.
• Aquatic immersion increases both the rate and volume of blood flow to the brain, increasing oxygen delivery while also enhancing cellular repair and regeneration.
• This increase in brain blood flow averaging +7%, persists with aquatic exercise.
Below are 4 studies share in the webinar, “Improving Brain Health Through Aquatic Exercise” presented by Dr. Becker, that show the significant increase of blood flow to the brain with immersion and through exercise.
We understand that there is a positive effect on the autonomic nervous system, such as increases in blood flow, oxygenation, repair and regeneration with warm water immersion that is not seen with land-based therapy, but what does that mean?
Why could Aquatic Therapy be beneficial for treating neurological or brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s?
Let’s look at the lobes of the brain, what their primary functions are and where this increase blood flow is coming from to better understand the functions of the brain and possible reasons for increase cognitive outcomes.
Our brain certainly controls the ability to process, plan, organize, problem solve, speak, remember, understand, as well as how we behave, feel, touch, see and move. As we age there is a decrease in cerebral blood flow and vascular elasticity which certainly plays a role in cognitive decline. Patients with neurological disorders and diseases such as stroke, brain injuries and dementia also experience similar cognitive impairments. Warm water immersion produces a balancing within the autonomic nervous system which has been proven to improve mood and mood-related disorders such as depression, improve brain function, enhance working memory, increase cognitive task-performance, problem solving, language skills and processing as well as decrease anxiety.
While standard land-based therapy and medication and have not been able to reproduce the same effects, there is clear evidence that shows the benefits of water immersion and the importance of incorporating aquatic therapy to enhance cognitive improvements.
Learn more on aquatic therapy and brain health: