Studies have shown that exercise can boost the blood supply to our brains, stimulating the release of hormones and promoting the production of new brain cells. Admittedly, there are young people doing exercise to keep charming, confident and physically healthy.
A recent new study, however, found that it’s not just young people who benefit from exercise. Aerobic exercise can effectively improve the thinking and language skills in older people, according to a study published in Neurology.
Half-a-year aerobic exercise
The researchers enrolled 206 healthy low-active adults with an average age of 65.9, and asked them to continuously do supervised aerobic exercise for 6 months. During the process, the participants were asked to exercise 4 days per week — 3 days under supervision and 1 day on their own.
The length of supervised aerobic exercise increased from 20 to 40 minutes during the whole period.
Tests before and after
The participants took neuropsychological tests before and after the 6-month period to assess their cognitive skills. Other assessments were also taken to evaluate their cerebral blood flow velocity, cerebrovascular regulation, and the association between changes in cognition and changes in cerebrovascular function.
Improved cognitive abilities after aerobic exercise
After the 6-month exercise, researchers found that the participants presented an increased blood flow and better performing functional test results. Their cognitive skills including mental flexibility and self-correction were increased by nearly 6%, while language fluency showed a 2.4% improvement.
Although memory and thinking abilities will decrease with physical age, the study has revealed that exercise may effectively stimulate cognitive skills in older people. Getting older isn’t an excuse for being slow; aerobic exercise can help you keep active mentally and healthily.