Want to keep your brain in tip-top shape? Then a workout may be in order. New findings suggest that aerobic exercise can have a brain-boosting effect for older adults.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that adults ages 58- 77 years who walked three times a week for 45 minutes gained some positive brain benefits. After six months, the walkers had improved brain function and an enhancement in independent living, compared with older adults who only stretched regularly.
How Aerobic Exercise May Affect the Brain
One theory is that physical activity might increase the number of "connections," or synapses, between brain cells. More connections would allow the brain to recruit these cells when more brainpower is needed. Another theory is that aerobic exercise boosts blood supply to the brain, which in turn improves its function.
Other brain-boosting tips include:
• Using olive oil. It's been found that healthy, older Italian women who consume high amounts of olive oil & other monounsaturated fats seemed to be protected against age-related mental decline. The women consumed an average of about nine teaspoons of olive oil per day.
• Taking vitamin E. This vitamin has been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
• Playing games. Crossword & Sudoku puzzles are great ways to keep the mind active and have fun at the same time.
Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center
8 November 2011