Keeping your brain sharp may start with your feet, according to a new study.
Dr. Jeffery Burns, lead researcher at Kansas University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, wanted to see if he could discover the optimal dose of exercise for brain health. For his study, Dr. Burns recruited 100 individuals over the age of 65 and split them into four exercise groups. The four groups exercised for:
0 minutes a week
75 minutes a week
150 minutes a week
225 minutes a week
The groups exercised on either a treadmill or elliptical throughout the week, and then they were asked to complete thinking skill tests. A baseline thinking skill test was completed at the beginning of the study, during the study and six months months after the study ended. After looking at the data, researchers uncovered:
Even at 75 minutes of exercise a week, the brain saw cognitive benefits. Both attention and visual spatial function was improved.
Those who exercised for more than 75 minutes saw even more brain benefits.
Not surprisingly, the group that exercised for 225 minutes a week saw the biggest improvement in physical endurance.
Dr. Burns, who led the study, said people should push for 45 minutes of exercise a day, but just getting off the couch is going to have huge benefits for your health.
“Is more better? Yea, it probably is, but the biggest bang for your efforts is going from being sedentary to being more active,” said Dr. Burns.
Dr. Silverman Comments
The bottom line is to get off your couch and get moving. You don’t need to start with 225 minutes of exercise a week, but set time aside for physical activity.
Exercise is great for your heart, it helps you control your weight, it keeps your mind sharp and can help you live longer. There’s no reason not to get up and exercise. Even light exercises like walking the dog or taking the stairs at work will do wonders for your body.
Get moving, and your body will thank you.