Can I exercise to keep my brain young?
BY: Karen AspIt’s no secret that exercise can benefit your heart and waistline. What’s more, emerging evidence shows that exercise may also boost brain health, keeping your brain young and protecting it from cognitive decline. In one study conducted at the Mayo Clinic, people who did moderate exercise -- like brisk walking, biking and swimming -- during midlife were 39 percent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment than those who were less active, reports study co-author Dr. Yonas E. Geda, a neuropsychiatrist. In addition, moderate exercise later in life also decreased risk of cognitive impairment.
If you prefer vigorous exercise, no problem! Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that people who did high-intensity aerobics for 45 to 60 minutes four days a week improved brain functions that help you monitor and control your thoughts and actions throughout the day. No matter what you do, the point is to get into a regular exercise habit. Says Geda: “If you exercise -- for your heart or other reasons -- keep it up, since it may also benefit your brain.”
Karen Asp is a fitness and health writer and a certified personal trainer who writes for numerous publications, including SELF, Glamour, Women’s Health, Family Circle, Prevention, Redbook and Men’s Fitness. Karen is a frequent contributor to Live Right Live Well.