Exercise and the Aging Brain, New and Exciting Research—A Must Read if You’re Over 50

I found this great article from the IDEA personal training journal.

It really should give us motivation to start moving more to so we can maintain better brain function and memory as we get older. Now where did I put my glasses?

This report comes from the University of Edinburg and says that traditional brain games and crossword puzzles may not be the best way to stay mentally sharp as you age. According to this study such pastimes have a minimal effect of the brain’s health. So what really works?

Physical Activity! Walking, running, biking, sports, gardening and the like.

The chief research fellow Alan Gow PhD found that physical activity improved the health of the brain by reducing white matter and shrinkage. This has been proven to help maintain thinking and memory abilities as we age.

Over a three year period they tracked 700 men and women, all around 70 years old at the start of the study. They kept journals of their mental activity and physical work which ranged from barely getting off the couch to high intensity gym activity and recreational sports.

Then they took MRI images of their brains afterwards and found that exercise had a neuroprotective effect. This means exercise is likely to help reduce brain shrinkage, atrophy and reduce the number of brain lesions. The exercise acted as an insurance policy against the oncoming and inevitable toll that age takes on our brain. Insuring that we can be sharp and functional into our 80’s, 90’s and beyond.

The bottom line is that all adults regardless of age can benefit from the long term effects of living a physically active lifestyle.

Activity doesn’t have to be strenuous or extreme, just daily walking, biking, gardening, and brief periods of cardio at the gym will do the trick.

Now turn off the computer and go out for a walk.

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