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Exercise Slows Brain Aging by 10 Years, Report Says

By Alexandra Gratereaux
Posted On Mar 24, 2016
Exercise Slows Brain Aging by 10 Years, Report Says

Exercise may just be the fountain of youth.

A study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology found that people who do not workout may be aging their brains by the equivalent of 10 years.

“The number of people over the age of 65 in the United States is on the rise, meaning the public health burden of thinking and memory problems will likely grow,” wrote Clinton B. Wright, MD, MS, of the University of Miami in Miami, Fla.

Wright, who is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology, and the author of the study, urges people to begin exercising at an early age. For the elderly, there is a direct link between exercising and their cognitive functions.

“Our study showed that for older people, getting regular¬†exercise¬†may be protective, helping them keep their cognitive abilities longer,” said Wright.

The study involved 876 people whose exercise routines were documented for two weeks. Fast forwarding to seven years later when a memory exam was administered, 90 percent of the individuals said they rarely worked out, if at all. These people were placed in the low activity group and said they only did yoga or light walking.

The remaining people, who reported to be physically active said they ran, did aerobics, or calisthenics on a consistent basis. These folks were placed in the high activity group.

The study showed that those in the low activity group, who seven years prior showed no signs of memory loss or thinking disabilities, currently had developed memory loss and thinking problems.

Those in the high activity group showed they could perform simple tasks faster and could remember more words. The results also showed the difference in the brain functions between individuals in both groups was of a whopping 10 years of aging.

The 10-year difference between both groups was not affected, even when experts incorporated variables such as smoking, drinking, high blood pressure, and body mass index.

“Physical activity is an attractive option to reduce the burden of cognitive impairment in public health because it is low cost and doesn’t interfere with medications,” Wright said.