Exercise Keeps the Mind Sharp after 50

A review of more than 39 studies has shown that moderate exercise, several times a week, can help keep your mind sharp if you’re over 50 years-old.

The study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said that exercise at any age is good for the mind and the body, but for those over 50, exercise can even slow down cognitive decline and help keep away dementia and memory loss.

Activities that presented the best benefits were those that get the heart pumping and moving the muscles. For those who are unable to job or pick up a sport, exercises such as yoga or T’ai Chi were recommended.

The science behind the study is that through exercise, the brain receives a greater supply of oxygen, blood, and nutrients that help contribute to its well-being. Exercise can also stimulate the release of a growth hormone which helps the formation of new neurons and connections.

From a variety of tests, it was found that aerobic exercise improved cognitive abilities such as thinking, reading, learning, reasoning, and memory. Scientists also studied the effects of muscle training, like lifting weights, which were found to have a significant effect on the brain’s ability to plan and organize.

Guidelines from the NHS recommend that adults should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week and exercise the major muscle groups on two or more days a week.

Committing to 150 minutes of exercise a week cuts the chances of depression and dementia by a third, and can boost mental health at any age.

As we age, exercise can be strenuous on the body. Always be sure to talk to your primary care provider if you are thinking about starting a new exercise plan.

Read our article “7 Ways to Burn Calories Without Heading to the Gym” for more ideas on how to get your recommended weekly amount of exercise.

If you need to find a primary care provider, use our online “Find a Doctor” tool to find a provider who fits your needs, or call 906.228.9440 to speak with us today.

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