CogniFit's Science blog: Exercise is Key to Brain Fitness

Exercise is Key to Brain Fitness

Two new studies suggest that regular physical activity could also be key to maintaining a sharp mind as we age. While this is not new information for scientists these new studies did fill in some gaps in the current scientific literature with brain fitness and older adults.

The first study included 2,809 women over the age of 65 who had a history of heart disease or stroke or at least three risk factors for those diseases. This study gives new information because all previous studies focused on healthy people. The message is now clearer than it ever has been which is if you stay physically active your brain fitness will be better.

The second smaller dealt with another weakness in the current information. All other studies had relied on the participants own description of exercise habits which can be unreliable. This study actually used laboratory testing to find out the total amount of energy each participant exerted in a two week period.

The studies appear in “Archives of Internal Medicine” on July 25 and were published online as well. As a result researchers in Paris at the Harvard School of Public Health reanalyzed data from an older study was originally designed to examine heart health and the affects antioxidants have on it.

Even though this study was originally about the heart they did a phone test with the participants that checked cognitive skills. So these results were re-examined and also concluded that physical activity equated to better brain fitness and cognitive function.

The more active these women were the shaper their cognitive skills were. On average each woman was only getting about 30 minutes of brisk walking per day which isn’t a ton of physical activity. They however still showed better results than the woman who had no exercise going on.

Physical activity can be as simple as getting up and walking around now and then. Stretching the legs and changing your perspective. You don’t have to complete a marathon to have optimal brain fitness but you just have to get up and move. During the 7 years the study went out those with activity had 90% lower odds of having cognitive decline. Those are pretty good statistics to those who get exercise.

There are many factors that play into brain fitness such as brain training and physical activity is definitely one of them. So get off the couch and get out and doing something and start to improve your brain fitness today.