Study results indicate that physical activity can help protect our cognitive abilities as we get older and the exercise doesn’t need to be intense to make an impact.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
The results indicate that getting more steps and moving around a little bit more can help improve the health of the brain and keep us more independent as we get older.
For the study, the fitness measurements and physical activity of 51 older individuals were tracked. Tests were carried out which were specially made to determine cognitive functioning and MRIs were taken to evaluate brain functioning.
Devices were also worn by the participants that measured physical activity intensity, the number of steps taken, and how much distance was covered. Fitness was assessed through a walking test during which individuals walked as quickly and as far as possible within 6 minutes.
According to the researchers, there is some proof that exercise changes the brain which impacts everyday life function.
The brain is comprised of a whole lot of distinct networks that are constantly communicating with one another.
Different brain areas are however active at different times. For example, the network that’s active when the body is resting switches off when an individual is completing a task and another network switches on.
The other network should be switched off when another network is active. If it’s not, that’s a sign that an individual’s brain isn’t functioning optimally.
These networks are essential for being able to carry out basic everyday tasks, which include exhibiting self-control and remembering important information. But these tasks often become more challenging as we get older.
This study looked at how these networks interact with fitness and physical activity to impact brain function.
The study gives some evidence that when engaging in physical activity, independence and executive function improves in individuals whose brain networks aren’t functioning optimally.
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