In early March 2016, my travels took me to the Canyons Resort in beautiful Park City Utah. I was there to chair the 2016 Sports Medicine Winter Summit, which is an annual medical conference I organize each year. This year’s meeting included some great speakers on a range of topics covering the latest in the field of sports and exercise medicine. Our speakers this year included Drs. Fred Brennan, Kim Harmon, Chip Lavie, Amy Powell and Bill Roberts.
Among several talks I gave this year, I presented on the fascinating topic of Exercise and Brain Health. While we have traditionally thought that the benefits of exercise were primarily focused on the heart, emerging research has led many to believe that the most powerful effect of exercise may be on the brain. Studies have shown that regular exercise can actually cause the brain to grow, which is something we never thought possible. This likely accounts for the fact that people who exercise are much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease as they age and also why kids who are fit tend to score better on standardized tests.
But in another talk, Dr. Chip Lavie warned about the potential dangers of too much exercise. He has done several studies showing that extreme endurance exercise (like marathon running) may not be as good for your heart as once thought. It seems clear that most of the benefits from exercise come from doing just a moderate amount – only 30 minutes a day or even less. Like most things in life, if a little is good, then a lot more may not necessarily be better and it seems this is also the case with exercise. That is why I think walking is the single best thing you can do for your health.
Of course there are many other great ways to get the physical activity you need to stay healthy and in Park City that means skiing. In addition to the meeting, I got a chance to hit the slopes at the Canyon’s Ski Resort and enjoy the crisp clean air and great scenery. There are few things I enjoy more than skiing with friends and colleagues and this meeting offers a great chance to do this.
So I hope this blog finds you well and taking the time to go for a walk with your friends.