Exercise Boosts Memory!

There are many benefits to exercise. Weight loss. Building muscle mass. Heart health. But, brain health as well? Yes, a study indicates that regular, consistent walking can increase your memory!

Aerobic Exercise Boosts Memory

“A year of moderate exercise doesn’t just bulk up muscles—it beefs up the brain, too, a new study finds. A memory center in the brain called the hippocampus shrinks a little bit each year with age, but older adults who walked routinely for a year actually gained hippocampus volume, researchers report in a study to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“I think it’s a very exciting contribution to see that walking at a fairly vigorous rate will actually affect a key structure of the brain,” says neuroscientist Carl Cotman of the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the study. “So for healthy elderly, it’s good news and would hopefully encourage people to figure that exercise is worth it.”

In the study, 60 adults aged 55 to 80 scaled up gradually until they walked for 40 minutes three times a week, enough to get their heart rates up. Sixty other participants did toning workouts that included weight training, yoga sessions and stretching for the same amount of time. After a year of toning, a part of these subjects’ brains called the anterior hippocampus lost a little over 1 percent of its volume. In contrast, a year of aerobic exercise led to about a 2 percent increase in anterior hippocampus volume.

Study participants who got their heart rates up performed slightly better on a memory test and had higher levels of a brain-aiding molecule called BDNF, the researchers found.”

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