Vitality

How To Keep Your Brain Young: Exercise May Combat Cognitive Decline

It’s a sad fact — aging and declining brain power go hand-in-hand. If you want to keep better tabs on where you last placed your car keys, you may want to consider taking up a sport or other form of aerobic exercise. 

A new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has found that exercise may actually keep the brain young, and combat cognitive decline. The research team found that older adults who practiced high amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity had a 36 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment. Compared to those who did less exercise, they also had better memory and executive function.

Read: How Aging Changes The Human Brain: As You Get Older, Even The Mind Becomes More Flabby

To reach these conclusions, researchers asked 6,400 people aged 65 and older to sport an activity tracker for a week, TIME reported. They also analyzed participants’ cognitive abilities through a series of tasks.

 

aged New study finds that exercise keeps the brain young. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

According to TIME, previous studies have also shown that exercise lowers an older person’s risk for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.

For example, Alzheimer’s Disease and Age-Related Memory Loss (ARML) are two kinds of cognitive decline that are associated with aging, but these two conditions operate very differently.

Read: Slow Down Aging In The Human Brain: Ultrasound Scans May Delay Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's disease can be prevented, "and also to some degree, you might be able to reverse it,” neuropsychiatrist and Nobel Prize recipient Eric Kandel said in a recent video for Big Think. Exercise may play a role in both. 

Source: Zhu W, Wadley VG, Howard VJ, Hutto B, Blair SN, Hooker SP. Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Cognitive Function in Older Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2016.

See Also:

Aging Brain: Distractions And Reduced Focus Could Help The Minds Of People Over 50

7 Nutrients To Protect Your Brain From Aging: Flavanols, Fish, Nuts, And Blueberries May Prevent Alzheimer’s

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