Getting older can be tough for everyone, but a new study suggests a simple exercise routine can help keep the aging brain healthy as we age. According to the findings, regular exercise may help protect aging brains from cognitive decline. The researchers say that the benefits of exercise appear to be greater in people who start exercising later in life. So if you’re looking for ways to stay sharp as you age, it’s time to start moving.
Doctors have long recommended physical activity to help keep the brain healthy as you age. However, this study is the longest test of whether exercise makes a difference once someone starts having memory problems. This research was carried out during the pandemic, adding isolation to the list of brain health risks for participants.
The study included around 300 sedentary older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – a condition that is sometimes thought to be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Half of the participants were assigned to aerobic exercise, and the rest had to perform stretching and balancing movements that only modestly increased their heart rate.
Participants in both groups attended the YMCA, and when the pandemic hit, they met with trainers via video call from their homes.
After a year, cognitive tests showed neither group had worsened, and brain scans showed no shrinkage that usually accompanies worsening memory problems. In comparison, MCI patients involved in a similar long-term brain health study experienced significant cognitive decline over one year.
“Previous research has shown that regular physical activity of any kind can reduce damaging inflammation and increase blood flow to the brain,” said Maria Carrillo, scientific director of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Some drugs target key markers known to lead to dementia, including amyloid plaque and metabolism to help deal with blood sugar and fat. However, research has shown that even with medication, effective treatment of cognitive decline requires a combination of personalized strategies.
As the aging population grows and cases of dementia rise, there is a growing urgency to find steps people can take to help provide protection. This study shows how a simple exercise can be a useful tool in preventing memory problems.
The next stage of research needs to look at the amount and type of exercise older adults need to achieve brain health effects. Some experts recommend seniors to move 30 to 45 minutes four times a week, which is a huge task for sedentary people.
Brain function and anti-aging
Although some degree of cognitive decline is almost inevitable with age, this study shows how lifestyle changes can affect brain health. Along with exercise, getting the right vitamins and nutrients for brain health is vital as you age.
The Smart Pill can help improve cognitive function and memory with 9 ingredients that help support, nourish and maximize brain health. These include ginkgo biloba, huperzine A, bacopa extract, rosemary extract and a vitamin B complex. Formulation of these ingredients is a great way to fight free radicals, boost the circulation and provide nutritional support to aid cognitive functions.