In Episode #226, I’m joined by Drs Ayesha and Dean Sherzai to examine how exercise impacts brain health.
“You can affect your brain development at any stage, from birth all the way to death.”
Drs Dean and Ayesha Sherzai are no strangers to The Proof Podcast. As community favourites, we’ve previously covered topics focusing predominantly on the relationship between nutrition, neurodegenerative disease, aging, and other factors of brain health. In today’s episode, we step away from food to focus on the way exercise can impact our brain’s functioning and health.
“Movement was coded into our very existence, along with our emotions.”
Dr Ayesha Sherzai is a vascular neurologist and research scientist, and Dr Dean Sherzai is a behavioural neurologist and neuroscientist. Both hold extensive qualifications and experience in their field and take a dedicated focus to community empowerment. They are the authors of two best-selling books, The Alzheimer’s Solution and The 30 Day Alzheimer’s Solution. Long-time listeners of The Proof will appreciate their incredibly informed approach that is packed with information you can use to improve your own health.
“Our movements are literally the best antidepressants, the best anti-anxiety medications you have in your system.”
In this episode, we establish exactly why exercise is so important for brain health. We focus on two main considerations: what we know about the relationship between exercise and cognition, and how we can explain this relationship from an evolutionary lens. We discuss how movement impacts cognition, engaging your brain while exercising, and aging and brain health. We also cover neurogenesis, brain trauma, exercise and mood disorders, and motivation versus discipline.
Specifically, we discuss:
- Intro [0:00]
- Defining Exercise & Cognition [7:51]
- Studies on Exercise/ Brain Power [13:16]
- Normal vs Pathological Aging [16:34]
- Aging: What’s Possible [22:30]
- Evolution of the Brain [27:31]
- Combining Thinking & Movement [42:23]
- Improving Brain Function [50:40]
- Mild Cognitive Impairment [58:27]
- Exercise for Brain Health [1:01:05]
- VO2 max & brain health [1:09:53]
- Danger of Exercise [1:12:36]
- Can you reverse pathology? [1:24:51]
- Mood Disorders [1:29:00]
- Motivation vs Discipline [1:31:06]
- Outro [1:37:35]
Having Drs Dean and Ayesha Sherzai on the show is always a pleasure. With profound knowledge and extensive experience, they offer invaluable insight delivered in a way that is both digestible and actionable.
To hear more from Drs Ayesha and Dean Sherzai, you can listen to their previous episodes #65, #78, #97, #117, #126, and #188. You can also head to their podcast, The Brain Health Revolution. Connect with them on Instagram @thebraindocs, and head to their websites https://www.teamsherzai.com and https://thebraindocs.com/ to discover their books and learn more.
The best way to support the show is to use the products and services offered by our sponsors. To check them out, and enjoy great savings, visit theproof.com/friends.
More about Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD, MPH, MAS
Dr. Dean Sherzai is a behavioral neurologist / neuroscientist whose entire life has been dedicated to behavioral change models at the community and population level. Dean finished his medical and neurology residencies at Georgetown University with a subsequent fellowship in neurodegenerative diseases at the National Institutes of Health, followed by a second fellowship in Dementia and Geriatrics at the University of California, San Diego. He also holds two master’s degrees in Advanced Sciences at UCSD and in Epidemiology from Loma Linda University. He has received a PhD in Healthcare leadership focused on community empowerment from Loma Linda/Andrews University. Finally, he completed the executive leadership program at Harvard Business School. His vision has always been to revolutionize healthcare by empowering communities to take control of their own health.
More about Ayesha Sherzai MD, MAS
Dr. Ayesha Z. Sherzai is a vascular neurologist and a research scientist.
After completing her residency, she completed a fellowship in vascular neurology and Epidemiology at Columbia University Neurological Institute of New York. Dr. Sherzai is at the tail end of a master’s degree in public health in lifestyle epidemiology from Loma Linda University. Knowing the importance of empowering her patients, and their communities, she completed an extensive culinary training program in New York and now teaches large populations how to make tasty, easy, and healthy meals for their brain health.
Drs Ayesha and Dean are the authors of two best-selling books, The Alzheimer’s Solution (2017, HarperCollins) and The 30 day Alzheimer’s Solution (2021, HarperCollins). They are currently leading the largest community-based brain health initiative in the country.