Exercise may boost brain activity, memory in elderly

The finding showed that the age-related changes in memory performance and brain activity largely depend on an individual's fitness level.

Published: 15th January 2017 02:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th January 2017 02:54 PM   |  A+A-

Jose Rebamar, 75, lifts weights at an outside gym in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. With near daily sunshine and warm weather all year, the former Brazilian Navy sailor says there is no excuse to ever slow down. | AP


NEW YORK:  Maintaining high levels of fitness through physical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, or dancing may increase brain function and boost memory -- the hallmark impairments in Alzheimer's disease - in older adults, researchers say.

The finding showed that the age-related changes in memory performance and brain activity largely depend on an individual's fitness level.

Older adults who exercised showed good cardiac fitness levels which improved their memory performance and increased brain activity patterns compared to their low fit peers.

"Therefore, starting an exercise programme, regardless of one's age, can not only contribute to the more obvious physical health factors, but may also contribute to memory performance and brain function," said Scott Hayes, Assistant Professor at Boston University in the US.

For the study, the team included healthy young (18-31 years) and older adults (55-74 years) who walked and jogged on a treadmill while researchers assessed their cardiorespiratory fitness.

Older adults who scored high on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) tests performed better on memory tasks than those who had low CRF.

CRF -- a modifiable health factor that can be improved through regular engagement in moderate to vigorous sustained physical activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, or dancing -- is not only important for physical health, but is also associated with brain function and memory performance, the researchers said.

Further, the researchers found that older adults, had more difficulty in learning and remembering names that were associated with pictures of unfamiliar faces.

These older adults showed decreased brain activation in some regions and increased brain activation in others.

In addition, this increased brain activity was particularly found in brain regions that show typical age-related decline, suggesting fitness may contribute to brain maintenance.

The results appear in the journal Cortex.

Stay up to date on all the latest Health news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp