I have the privilege of working with many people every day as the fitness director at Manor House. The biggest part of my day is spent teaching groups of people strengthening and stretching exercises. I help people feel better. It's the most rewarding part of my job. People come into class tight and tense and leave feeling a little more loose and energized. There are a number of reasons why people leave an exercise session happier than when they came. Maybe because the workout is over and they have a sense of accomplishment. Or, it could be from socializing with other people and gaining energy from others.

I think it has a lot to do with our brain and the positive effects on our brain from exercising. There's research to back this up. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, physical activity reduces cognitive decline associated with aging (Chodzko-Zajko et al., 2009).

In fact, aerobic training (some examples are walking, running and swimming) has been shown to improve memory, spatial learning, decision making, problem solving, and overall mental function. Challenging your body with movement and exercise increases the blood and oxygen flow to your brain.

Recently I was at a restaurant with my family (yes, as a reward I do eat out once in a while) and we saw a good friend. As we were talking he said, "well you know I'm old now and my brain doesn't remember things like it used to." After we got done talking, I said to my family that it doesn't have to be that way. Getting older doesn't mean that we lose our brain power. Exercise can help prevent this from happening. Research supports this claim. We need to retrain our thinking process about aging.

Make a commitment today to think healthy and live healthy. Get the blood and oxygen flowing. Your brain will thank you. Here's to your good health.

Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Seaford. Email your questions to jsouder@actslife.org.