How Twice a Week Exercise Benefits the Brain in Seniors

Exercise

As you age, exercise is not only important for your body but especially for your brain health.

The New York Times reports on a new study that found seniors who took part in aerobic exercise just twice each week had improvements in areas of the brain responsible for memory and thinking. 

"Unconnected portions of the brain’s memory center start interacting in complex and healthier new ways after regular exercise, sharpening memory function," The NYT reported. 

The study examined 2 groups of seniors in their 60s, all of whom tended to be sedentary, but 1 group began taking a twice-weekly hour long dance class. 

"The exercisers performed better than before on a test of their ability to learn and retain information and apply it logically in new situations. This kind of agile thinking involves the medial temporal lobe... and tends to decline with age. But the older exercisers scored higher than at the start, and those whose brains displayed the most new interconnections now outperformed the rest," the NYT said of the study's results. 

The study also observed "youthful flexibility in the brain," in the group who exercised and also found the active seniors showed the ability to “flexibly rearrange their [brain] connections” in ways not seen with the group who remained sedentary.  

The study also found the active participants tested better on learning and retaining new information and also being able to apply that new information.

For even more exercise inspiration, find out how just 13 minutes of daily exercise can add years to your life!

Watch: How to Change Your Relationship to Exercise!

Watch: Exercise to Avoid Alzheimer’s? It Just Might Work

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