Declining cognitive function is a hallmark of aging, but does it have to be that way? Not necessarily, according to research linking improved mental health and memory to an active lifestyle. You’re likely already familiar with the physical benefits of mindful movement, but you may be surprised by the cognitive benefits of exercise.
The American Academy of Neurology published a study that compared levels of activity in 454 participants. Fewer than half of the participants were diagnosed with dementia, and all participants were thought to be within two years of death. The researchers studied brain tissue retrieved following the deaths of the participants in the study and found those who were more active – defined as moving 20% more than average – had better overall tissue.
What’s more, the participants who moved more also had better thinking and memory skills. Researchers concluded that movement played a critical role in maintaining the ability to think and remember in the presence of dementia in the brain. There was also a correlation between improved cognitive health and better motor skills.
The benefits of exercise on physical health are well understood, and this study reveals exercise may also protect the brain. While the research isn’t conclusive and more studies are needed, there are no drawbacks to adding more exercise to your life. If you’re struggling to get started, you might consider a certified personal trainer. Framework Personal Training here in Reno specializes in fitness over forty, and our trainers will work with you to create personalized plans that accommodate any current limitations and move you safely and efficiently toward your individual goals.
Even if the link between exercise and cognitive function is debunked at some point, there are so many other benefits that have been made, both physically and mentally. Start enjoying them now. The certified trainers at Framework are here to help – contact us today to get started.