To Your Health
March, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 03)
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Aerobics for the Brain: Not Just for Seniors

By Editorial Staff

Not only is aerobic exercise beneficial for the cardiovascular system; it's also great for brain health, and the benefits don't apply only to seniors.

While numerous studies suggest aerobic exercise improves cognition in seniors, a new study published in Neurology provides evidence that aerobic workouts elevate cognitive skills in younger adults, too.

Researchers divided adults ages 20-67 into two groups for six months: an aerobic group that performed exercises to speed up the heart rate; and a control group that performed toning and stretching exercises, but not of the aerobic variety. Tests administered at the beginning and end of the four-month study period evaluated cognitive skills including executive function, mental processing speed, memory, language abilities and more.

After six months, members of the aerobic exercise group showed improvements in cognitive function, while the non-aerobic group had minimal to no increases in cognition. Improvements were seen across all ages participating in the aerobic exercise program.

Heart health, brain health - what isn't aerobic exercise good for? If you're already participating in regular aerobic exercise, good for you! If not, ask your doctor to help design a program suitable to your health and fitness goals.