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Exercise and the Aging Brain

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Some cardio a day keeps the brain drain away.

Exercise each day does not have to make you to feel like you are training for a marathon. Each day you work at doing something active, you are helping your brain function more strongly than before. This is why this is so important for people who are aging because their brains tend to slip a bit as they get up there.

According to a recent study, people between the ages of 60 and 80 that exercise at least once a day are more likely to improve their cognitive functions and working memory. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa. Their experiment included a mix of physical activity, working memory tests, and brain scans.

In the study, participants were asked to ride a stationary bike on two separate occasions with varying degrees of difficulty for 20 minutes. They also underwent a brain scan and a memory test before and after each session. The results showed bursts of energy in the regions of the brain that are commonly known for collecting and sharing memories, and as a result, participants were doing much better on the memory tests.

What was surprising about the data was that participants experienced the same cognitive effects whether they had a single exercise session or a longer one. However, the boost in cognition and memory did not last long after the single exercise session. The hope is that this kind of boost will encourage older people to keep as active as possible.

The researchers did acknowledge that the sample group was small and did not include anyone with chronic health issues or people who were taking beta-blockers. They are currently conducting a five-year study with a larger sampling size for more concrete results.