Although it has long been believed that exercise and other forms of physical activity have benefits to the overall health of the brain, two new studies have further confirmed this by filling in those critical gaps in scientific literature and linking all the other previous reports regarding it.
With the release of the results of these two new researches, their link has now been made clearer: staying physically active does provide protection to the brain from its inevitable degeneration brought about by aging. The studies were published in July 25 print edition of the Archive of Internal Medicine as well as online.
One of the studies had 2,809 women subjects that were over the age of 65. Each of them either had a history of heart disease or stroke, or had at least 3 risk factors to these conditions. The data that was gathered from this study was supposed to examine the role that antioxidant vitamins play in heart health but the researches in Paris and at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston reanalyzed it to come up with the relation of exercise and brain health.
The condition of these women necessitates exercise as their unhealthy cholesterol levels and high blood pressure can greatly affect memory and language. Such cognitive decline is those which often precede all the forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s.
The long study began in 1995 where the women were surveyed on the types and frequency that they subjected themselves to exercise. Several years later, they were given a series of cognitive and memory tests on four separate occasions that were spread out over a period of 4 to 6 years.
Results have shown that the more active the women were, the better their performance was on the test. These active women were not even exercising extensively. At most, they were only getting the equivalent of at least 30 minutes of brisk walking. The researches concluded that those women that had little to no exercise were cognitively 5 to 7 years older than the other group.
The second study was a little unreliable as the link between exercise and dementia were based on the participants’ own description of their own exercise habits. The participants were composed of 197 men and women in their 70s.
Along with the surveys, though, the researchers made use of laboratory tests to find out the total amount of energy that the participants used over a two-week period. The test that was employed made the participants drink chemically altered water. Their blood and urine samples were then measured to find out how their bodies quickly broke down these chemicals.
When compared to those participants that showed sedentary lifestyles, those people that sued up more energy had 90 percent less risk of cognitive decline over the follow up period of five to 7 years. Also, all of the energy expenditure of the latter group was closely linked to their cognitive health. This means that everyday activity can actually help maintain the good health of the brain.
Amy C. is a freelance blogger and writer. She mostly writes new studies and research that are related to fitness and wellbeing. When she is not giving new information, she helps in the blogging and administration activities of Greyside Group, a maritime security and executive protection company. Watch out for her next post for more new health discoveries.