If the terms bilateral prefrontal cortex, medial frontal cortex, bilateral thalamus, and left hippocampus sound foreign to you…you’re not alone. But a recent article in Psychology Today suggests these brain regions can get a boost from cardiorespiratory exercise, which in turn contributes to a strong brain as we age, according to a new study from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).
Brain Imaging, Fitness Level & Memory
The study, which used state-of-the art fMRI brain imaging technology, is believed to be the first to recognize that older adults who score high on cardiorespiratory fitness tests also do better on memory tasks when compared to older adults with low cardiorespiratory fitness, included a group of healthy young participants ages eighteen to thirty-one and a group of older adult participants ages fifty-five to seventy-four. Researchers monitored the ratio of inhaled then exhaled oxygen and carbon dioxide during periods of intense aerobic action.
In a previous study on neuroprotective benefits of exercise, conducted by the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA), researchers involved found a significant connection between low levels of physical activity and a higher risk of dementia in older adults who were habitually inactive, suggesting that older adults who exercise regularly may have less risk of developing dementia.
So what does all of this mean?
The researchers conclude that cardiorespiratory fitness is not only important for physical health, but it is also linked with brain function and memory performance.
What can you or your clients do now to improve brain strength? The easy answer is to start exercising. If you aren’t ready for higher intensity exercise like jogging or running, brisk walking is a great place to begin. One study suggests walking briskly for one hour, twice a week for a total of 120 minutes of moderately intense exercise a week.
If you get bored exercising by yourself, or don’t have the discipline to go it alone, consider joining a group class (even yoga!), or even better, hire a personal trainer for a motivational workout partner. LHAA understands that to be successful in your fitness goals, the training has to be personalized – you can schedule a one-on-one appointment with our PFT Interns for only $10! You can also learn about our professional personal training programs here.
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