There’s nothing like a good physical exercise after a long day at work to relax the mental wear and tear. A study suggests exercise is great at keeping the brain healthy.
Following a hard day’s work, when your brain feels clogged, there’s nothing like a good physical exercise to find relief. Some of you might have already found the benefits of regular exercise in giving your brain a time out. As for the rest of you, a study found that physical exercise is great at protecting the brain from aging.
Physical exercise is great for your body. We know that. It’s great for keeping a positive attitude towards life, it’s great at losing weight and firming your body. And now a study published in the journal Neurology found that physical exercise is even better at keeping your brain healthy than activities that should stimulate you mentally and socially.
Experts with the University of Edinburg in Scotland took MRI brain scans of more than 600 people, first at age 70, and then at age 73. Researchers found that people who exercised regularly had less brain atrophy and more gray and normal white matter volumes. They also seemed to be less likely to suffer lesions of white matter that commonly lead to thinking problems and memory decline.
“People in their seventies who participated in more physical exercise, including walking several times a week, had less brain shrinkage and other signs of aging in the brain than those who were less physically active” explained lead author Alan J. Gow. At the same time, the study showed that there was “no real benefit to participating in mentally and socially stimulating activities on brain size, as seen on MRI scans” over the duration of the research.
With the threat of developing Alzheimer’s, it’s never too late to start working out. It doesn’t have to be long hours of intense physical exercise. Aging researcher Kirk Erickson says exercising will show benefits even in seniors or inactive adults.
“The old view is that as we get older our brains become less malleable and less able to change” Erickson says. “The new view is that it remains plastic even very late in life. We were able to show positive change after just one year of moderate intensity physical activity” he added.