We all know there are advantages to exercising, no matter our age. Although, now neurological research has determined that bigger biceps aren’t the only physical changes we can we strive for. It seems that bigger brains may also be achievable with middle age exercise.
Even if you don’t start getting physically fit until you are middle aged. You can still help reverse the aging process according to Neurology.org’s ‘Midlife Exercise’ Journal. As reported by CNN’s Morgan Manella, the journal states that as people get older their brains atrophy. Shrink in volume and decline in cognitive function, making them more likely to experience dementia.
The study by Boston Univ. School of Medicine, gave a treadmill test to over 1,500 forty-year-olds who did not suffer from heart disease or dementia. Then tested them again in twenty years, as well as gave them an MRI brain scan known as magnetic resonance imaging.
The postdoctoral researcher and author of this study, Nicole Spartano, said the test measured blood pressure and heart rate. It also estimated the overall fitness level of the participants by how long they could stay on a treadmill before their heart rate increased to a particular level.
The researchers found that those who had poor fitness health, or didn’t do well on the treadmill test twenty years ago, had smaller brains today. They also discovered something else interesting. Anyone in this group that had any heart problems and who wasn’t taking blood pressure medication had an accelerated brain age equivalent to one year. And, those who did have heart issues and did take heart medication had an accelerated brain age of two years.
Spartano said that physical fitness could have prevented the brain aging for those suffering from heart disease. She went on to explain that when we exercise we increase the flow of oxygen and blood to our brains. And, when we make lifestyle changes to improve our overall physical fitness level, we can impact the size of our brains, therefore, prevent degenerative cognitive functions as we age.
How to begin to exercising?
Middle age exercise doesn’t necessarily imply going ot the gym and working out. By making some simple changes in your daily routine, you can start to get more physically active today and help to prevent your brain from aging.
Changes habits like parking your car near the back of the parking lot instead of up-front by the door, or even better, riding your bike instead of driving. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Use your treadmill, stair master or stationary bike while you watch your favorite TV shows.
If you usually sit at your job, try to stand for eight minutes every 20 minutes, and then move around for 2 minutes. Or, play lively music while you do housework to get you moving faster without even realizing it.
Middle age exercise can be accomplished as simply as to move, survive and live a better life.