Exercise can improve memory and thinking in older people: Study
Exercise can improve aspects of thinking and remembering in older people, changing how crucial portions of our brain communicate as we age, according to a fascinating new study which involved older African-Americans.
The study of aging brains and aerobic workouts finds that unconnected portions of the brain’s memory center start interacting in complex and healthier new ways after regular exercise, sharpening memory function.
The study was published in January in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and conducted by researchers at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. The research demonstrates that physical activity enhances thinking and also highlights the importance of staying active at any age.
The idea that physical activity improves brain health is well established by now. Experiments involving animals and people show exercise increases neurons in the hippocampus, which is essential for memory creation and storage, while also improving thinking skills.
In older people, regular physical activity helps slow the usual loss of brain volume, which may help to prevent age-related memory loss and possibly lower the risk of dementia.
the new study, which was published in January in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Mark Gluck, a professor of neuroscience at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., and his colleagues decided to see what happened inside the brains and minds of much older people if they began to work out.
Mark Gluck, a professor of neuroscience at Rutgers University and his colleagues decided to see what happened inside the brains and minds of much older people if they began to work out.
The brain contains the hippocampus and is the core of humans’ memory center. Unfortunately, its inner workings often begin to malfunction with age, leading to declines in thinking and memory.
Dr. Gluck discovered that exercisers performed better than before on a test of their ability to learn and retain information and apply it logically in new situations.
This study involved older African-Americans, though, a group that is underrepresented in health research but may not be representative of all aging people.