Summary: At any age, regular exercise or physical activity helps to maintain brain function during old age. However, maintaining a frequent workout schedule throughout life was linked to better mental acuity, memory, and cognition later in life.
Any regular leisure time physical activity at any age is linked to better brain function in later life, but maintaining an exercise routine throughout adulthood seems to be best for preserving mental acuity and memory, suggests a long term study published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Even though factoring in childhood cognitive ability, household income, and education weakened the observed associations, the findings remained statistically significant.
Physical activity is modestly associated with a lower risks of dementia, cognitive decline, and loss of later life mental acuity. But it’s not known whether the timing, frequency, or maintenance of leisure time physical activity across the life course might be key to later life cognitive abilities.
The researchers were particularly keen to know if physical activity might be most beneficial in specific ‘sensitive’ periods across the life course, or across multiple time periods.
To try and find out, they looked at the strength of associations between a range of cognitive tests at age 69 and reported leisure time physical activity at the ages of 36, 43, 53, 60-64, and 69 in 1417 people (53% women) taking part in the 1946 British birth cohort study.Physical activity levels were categorised as: inactive; moderately active (1–4 times/month); most active (5 or more times/month), […]
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