Type And Intensity Of Exercise Improves Cognition

In Brain Development, Brain Science, Memory and Learning by Brainy Days Ahead

Does exercise or the type and intensity of exercise help middle-aged and older individuals improve or maintain their brain health? A research team has assessed 39 studies to evaluate the impact of different types of exercises, their intensity, and the exercise session time on the brain health of individuals above 50 years of age. The study is the most complete review to date investigating whether a combination of aerobics and resistance exercises, including multicomponent exercises such as tai chi and yoga, can significantly improve brain health in 50-year-olds, whatever their current brain health status may be. The brain effects researchers focused on included overall capacity of the brain (global cognition), attention (continual alertness and the capability to process information quickly), executive function (processes responsible for cognitive behavior control), memory (storing and recalling information), and working memory (short-term memory). Collective analysis of the data confirmed that exercise improves the brain health of those above 50 years, regardless of their current brain health status. Executive function, memory, and working memory, in particular, showed improvement from resistence training. As for intensity, the researchers find that a 45–60 minute exercise session of medium to extreme intensity and of any frequency enhances brain health. The bottom line is that 50-year-olds and older individuals can significantly help their cognitive functioning with 45 minutes of moderately intense aerobic and resistance exercise on as many days as possible. So, let’s get moving!