Florida- A new study held by neurologists at the University of Miami suggest that with hard exercise, older Americans can become more mentally nimble, improve their memory function, better the processing of information and keep their brain 10 years younger.
A good amount of weekly exercise, eight glasses of water per day and a good diet has always been a recommendation for leading a good and healthy life. But a recent study published in the medical journal Neurology has proven that intense physical activity is able to slow brain aging as much as 10 years.
Although many studies have proven that brain health is improved by physical and mental exercise. The recent study is the first one to put a real number on the benefits of exercise on the brain.
The objective of the study was to investigate in a cross sectional way the association of heart rate variability with cognitive functions in older participants that could be risking cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers based the study in 1,228 men and women around the age of 75, living in Manhattan and with a diverse racial and ethnic background.
Participants answered questions in order to test their cognitive abilities, the questions gave answers to their memory, organization, reasoning and thinking speed. After five years of the original test, the researchers performed the same test on half the group.
Elderly who reported intense physical activities in their daily routine, showed higher scores on the cognitive test. But when the researchers adjusted testing to the effect that factors like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure could have on brain function they discovered that people who reported a higher amount of exercise also had high brain scores.
Conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure tend to impair blood flow in the brain, compromising cognitive functions. But subjects likely to suffer from this conditions who maintained a healthy exercise routine passed the cognitive test with flying colors.
Dr. Clinton Wright, lead author of the study, and his colleagues focused the study on people who didn’t have blood flow risk factors. Comparing their cognitive scores in the beginning and at the end of the study, they confirmed that people who did not engage in physical activity had lower cognitive scores.
They study suggests that physical activity helps people with blood flow issues to the brain. The researchers are currently studying a group of patients immersed in physical activity with activity monitors that will show if these scores maintain over time.