We have all heard the term “use it or lose it,” right? That applies to our knowledge, our skill sets, and, yes, even the function of our body. If we don't use our body, we start to lose the ability to operate properly.

Our ancestors had no choice but to be active. Consider differences in activity over the years.

  • People used to work to collect food, water, and shelter. They had to hunt, gather, and build their villages by hand.
  • Now many people spend most of the time indoors sitting behind computers and other technological devices.
  • Our activity level has drastically declined from not only our ancestors, but even from just a generation or two ago.

How does exercise relate to seizures and epilepsy?

Research shows that people with epilepsy tend to exercise even less than people without epilepsy. Some reasons may include:

  • Fear of seizures
  • Side effects of medicines, such as poor balance or coordination, sleepiness, or fatigue, all may affect a person's ability to exercise or be active
  • Safety concerns, for example injuries from seizures or certain activities

How does exercise affect the brain?

  • After a good workout, people often report thinking more clearly. Exercise can increase blood flow, thus getting more oxygen to our brain.
  • During exercise, the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, is more active. When nerve cells in this area are more active, research shows that our cognitive abilities improve. Research in older women with possible mild cognitive problems showed that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus.
  • Exercise can have direct benefits too, such as reducing insulin resistance, reducing inflammation, and stimulating the release of growth factors (chemicals in the brain that affect the health, growth, and survival of brain cells).
  • Regular exercise can reduce stress and anxiety. It can also improve sleep and mood. All of these areas contribute to a person's ability to think clearly.

"Exercise is essential to our overall well-being, but sometimes it's hard to get going and take that first step.  Change your mindset to think of exercise as something you get to do to rather than something you have to do."
— Jenny LaBaw

Authored By: 
Jenny LaBaw
Reviewed By: 
David Taplinger, MD
Patty Shafer, RN, MN