“It’s increasingly clear that exercise is as good for the brain as it is for the body, The Globe and Mail reported. “You’ll score better on cognitive tests immediately after a moderate workout, and the gains accumulate over weeks of regular exercise. The mechanism is thought to involve a rise in growth-promoting brain chemicals and neurotransmitters, but it’s not clear how much or what type of exercise is most effective.
“To investigate the optimal brain-boosting exercise dose, a University of Kansas study assigned older adults to walk for between zero and 225 minutes a week for 26 weeks. As little as 75 minutes a week was enough to improve scores on a battery of cognitive tests, and there were further gains all the way up to 225 minutes. The overall pattern was that those who made biggest improvements in aerobic fitness also saw the biggest boosts in cognitive scores. Get your body fit, in other words, and the brain will follow.”
It’s great to read this information elsewhere. I have been writing about it for some time. Check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) to learn more.
Meanwhile, the AARP reported that in a survey of adults over 40, some eight out of 10 believe maintaining or improving brain health is important. Also, more than half, (56 percent) currently engage in activities healthful to the brain, like consuming a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
The good news is that the majority of these people are doing something about their brain health. The bad news is that nearly half (44 percent) aren’t, according to Jessica Langbaum, PhD, Associate Director, Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative.
Key findings of the AARP report Include:
Virtually all adults believe it is important to maintain or improve brain health; however, many are not currently engaging in activities that promote brain health.
• Three-quarters of adults age 40+ are concerned about their brain health declining in the future.
• While most adults have not noticed a change in their mental capacities, about one-third say their ability to remember things has decreased over the last five years. This figure rises to 45% among seniors (age 65+).
• A wide variety of activities are seen as important to brain health (e.g., sleep, diet, exercise, managing stress, reading, challenging the brain, etc.). However, when asked what activity is most important, the most commonly reported response is challenging the mind with games and puzzles.
In my post Exercise, not Just Sudoku for Seniors, I wrote: “For the record, there is nothing harmful to seniors who are doing puzzles to exercise their brains. It’s just that the puzzles per se are not going to bring much-needed blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Only exercise does that.”
• The most influential situations that would encourage engagement in brain healthy activities are things that happen to them personally (e.g., experiencing a major illness).