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Regular exercise may keep your brain and thinking skills 10 years younger

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 31-01-2019
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Regular exercise may keep your brain and thinking skills 10 years younger
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Going for a daily walk or bike ride can shave 10 years off your 'brain age', according to a new study. Researchers found that regular aerobic exercise boosted essential gray matter in all adults, even as young as 20 years old. Even climbing the stairs improve the thinking skills of the students they examined, scientists said. The positive effect of physical activity increased with age: people aged 40 seemed 10 years younger, while 60-year-olds seemed 20 years younger. The researchers say the findings could help our understanding of non-pharmaceutical methods to balance brain aging, and could even reduce the risk of dementia.

Study author Professor Yaakov Stern, of the Taub Institute for the Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University in New York, said: 'As people age, there can be a decline in thinking skills. 'However our study shows getting regular exercise may help slow or even prevent such decline. 'We found all participants who exercised not only showed improvements in executive function but also increased the thickness in an area of the outer layer of their brain.' The study published in Neurology found exercise specifically improved neurons in areas that control executive function.

These relate to a person's ability to regulate their own behavior, pay attention, organize and achieve goals. Dr Stern and colleagues followed 132 people aged 20 to 67 who were randomly assigned to six months of either aerobic exercise or stretching and toning four times a week. Those in the former group chose from activities including walking on a treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike or using an elliptical machine that simulates stair climbing.

The researchers found these were twice as effective as stretching and toning. Aerobic exercisers improved their overall scores on executive function tests by 0.50 points. This was a statistically significant difference from those who did stretching and toning - who progressed by 0.25 points. At 40, the improvement was 0.228 standard deviation units higher in those who exercised compared to those who did stretching and toning. At 60 it was 0.596 more.
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