A new study conducted by the University of Miami shows that specific exercises greatly affect the appearance of the brain’s age. Researchers found that people who run, swim or do other moderate physical exercise regularly have brains that look, on average, 10 years younger than the brains of those of couch potatoes.
"Our study showed that for older people, getting regular exercise may be protective, helping them keep their cognitive abilities longer," Dr. Clinton Wright of the University of Miami who led the study explains to Today.
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The results are promising for those who have been clocking in the hours on the track for physical health, now met with news that their efforts are putting them on the track towards a healthier brain as well. However, walking, golfing, bowling and yoga didn’t count towards moderate physical exercise for this study’s purposes. Wright and his team suggest working in more regular cardio into the routine, which takes heart rate to a higher level, helps individuals reap the benefits of a more youthful and less strained brain.
The study looked at nearly 900 participants and showed 90 percent fell into the low-intensity group. The participants monitored are from a larger group taking part in an even bigger study called Northern Manhattan Study, for which they were asked how long and how often they exercised during the past two weeks. Seven years later, they were tested for memory and thinking skills and got a brain MRI. Five years after that, they took the memory and thinking tests again.
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The 10 percent who said they took part in moderate to high-intensity exercises—including running, racquetball, aerobics or calisthenics—scored better on the tests 12 years later.
Additionally, the University of Miami findings support the data found in a 2012 study that showed two years of exercising, eating healthier food and brain training can boost memory function. The point is simple—go out and get that heart rate up!
How do you fit in daily, moderate exercise? Share your workouts in the comment section below!
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