Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/14/2013 -- While it’s long been said that aerobic activity improves brain function, science has now done studies that have proved the connection between physical activity and improved cognition.
The research involved sedentary adults between the ages of 57-75 who were randomized into groups that either performed physical activity or remained sedentary. The physical activity group participated in aerobic exercises on a bike or a treadmill for approximately one hour, three times a week (the current recommendations for physical activity).
In the middle of the study and at the end of 12 weeks, the participants’ cognition was tested and measurements were taken on resting blood flow to the brain and cardiovascular health. When compared with the control group, those who engaged in physical activity during the course of the study were found to have improved memory performance and increased blood flow to the hippocampus area of the brain – the key region affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
“Physical exercise may be one of the most beneficial and cost-effective therapies widely available to everyone to elevate memory performance,” said University of Texas at Dallas Center for Brain Health chief director Sandra Bond. “These findings should motivate adults of all ages to start exercising aerobically.”
Chapman did mention that while physical activity is associated with selective blood flow to the brain, more complex mental training practices can increase global brain flow for improvements in overall cognitive health rather than just memory and recall. Either way, the results and idea that those who are active can improve memory function and hold-off various diseases is encouraging and should inspire everyone to get moving.
Chapman in particular was very encouraged by the results. “To think we can alter and improve the basic structure of the mature brain through aerobic exercise and complex thinking should inspire us to challenge our thinking and get moving at any age.”
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