Jan 15, 2018 by Comfort Keepers Denver
There’s conflicting evidence everywhere about what forms of exercise help your brain out the most. How do we know who to believe or what we should do?
Long story short, the best form of exercise for your brain depends on your individual situation.
For example, if you have Parkinson’s disease, new research shows that an intense workout is actually the best method for managing symptoms.
In another example, if you do not have dementia but are worried about memory and cognitive health issues, getting in at least 4,000 steps a day can greatly benefit you.
The latter statement comes from a study that followed 26 adults, all over the age of 60, for 2 years. Each participant had complaints or concerns about their memory, but was not formally diagnosed with dementia. They were split into two groups, one a low physical activity group (less than 4,000 steps per day) and the other a high physical activity group (more than 4,000 steps a day).
Using MRI scans, the thickness and volume of the hippocampus (the region of the brain involved in memory) were determined from the start.
This is a very important component of the study, as previously, only brain volume has been focused on. These researchers decided to focus on thickness as well, to see what ties it had with cognitive health and how it was influenced by exercise.
As it turns out, compared to the lower physical activity group, the higher group had thicker hippocampi, including thickness in other parts of the brain. They also had more efficient functioning (including memory), faster processing abilities, and better attention span. A thicker brain, they deduced, is therefore a healthier brain – and walking over 4,000 steps a day can help promote said thickness.
At first glance, 4,000 steps sounds like a lot. If you’re mobile, though, you may be getting more steps in a day than you think.
Make sure to get those steps in for a healthier (and thicker) brain!