Researchers from Michigan State University have published a study that looked at the effect of exercise on the brain. We all know that exercise is beneficial to our bodies, but this study helps us to see benefits in terms of memory and slowing down age related deterioration.
Kimberly Fenn, a co-author of the study says that ‘The findings show that lower-fit individuals lose more memory across time’. There is a part of the brain (called the hippocampus) which is the part that is responsible for memory storage. This part shrinks as we get older but exercise has been shown to greatly reduce this phenomenon.
Not only has exercise been shown to slow down deterioration in the hippocampus, but it can also reverse some of the wasting that has already occurred. A year-long, three-days-a-week walking program recovered as much as two years worth of volume previously lost in healthy, but sedentary, seniors.
The best results come from doing aerobic exercises, such as walking, swimming, dancing, cycling or anything else that keeps your heart rate elevated for a given period of time.
Exercising will help keep you mentally alert but ‘start early’ is the message from a CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study. The researchers found that people who were fitter in young adulthood scored highest in memory tests 25 years later.
Another interesting aspect of memory and exercise was found in a study from McGill University. Marc Doig, a professor from McGill, says that memory has also been found to be improved immediately after a bout of exercise. People who exercised were better able to take in and retain new information.
So if you want to keep your memory working well, make your body work well and the sooner you start, the better. If you fancy looking at this in more detail try some further reading which can be found here.