Regular exercise is important for older Americans to keep both their bodies and minds healthier for longer, a new study shows.
The study looked at how much — and at what intensity — people exercised, comparing that with how fast they performed simple cognitive tasks and how well they could remember words from a list.
The brain functions of people who reported moderate to intense exercise declined much less quickly than those who got little exercise. Put another way: older Americans may slow down their brains aging process by up to a decade by exercising more regularly with moderate intensity. (Think running, aerobics or calisthenics.)
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Findings that connect physical exercise and brain health — like this study by researchers at the University of Miami and Columbia University — carry increasingly important meaning as America’s population continues to rapidly age.
As America ages, “the public health burden of thinking and memory problems will likely grow,” said study author Dr. Clinton Wright of the University of Miami. “Our study showed that for older people, getting regular exercise may be protective, helping them keep their cognitive abilities longer.”