How do you keep the brain sharp after the age of 50? Most advice on this seems to focus on keeping the mind active through puzzles, brain teasers, Sudoku, chess and such. But little is said about the power of physical exercise in improving the functioning of mind and memory.
The truth is, physical activity can play a much stronger role in keeping your memory strong and your focus sharp, according to research conducted at the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas in Dallas.
The study, conducted over 12 weeks, showed that adults who exercised regularly showed improvement in both metabolic and cognitive health. That’s because aerobic exercise improves blood flow to the brain—specifically to the region where the effects of Alzheimer’s are seen the most.
In another significant study, participants between the age of 50 and 85 were asked to exercise on a stationary bike for six minutes. An hour after this, they were given a memory test. These participants performed much better than the group that had done no exercise. The conclusion: even a short burst of exercise helped release norepinephrine, a brain chemical that can improve memory.
Could there be a greater reason to hit the treadmill now?