|Physical activity stimulates brain and decreases brain shrinkage that is associated with age.|
|Just incase you needed another reason to be physically active…
Nobody likes Scrabble and the like more than this writer, but there might be a better way to ward off age-related brain changes. According to a study published in Neurology, people in their 70s with higher levels of physical activity have less brain shrinkage than their sedentary contemporaries.
Researchers had 638 people born in 1936 answer questions at age 70 about their physical, mental and social lives. Three years later, the researchers performed MRI scans of the subjects’ brains to measure volume and composition. There was less shrinkage among the most physically active participants compared to those who reported minimal activity. Brain shrinkage is an important aspect of age-related change in the brain, as it’s associated with memory and thinking problems.
Despite the marketing that promotes mind games as preventative for age-related brain decline, this study found that greater engagement in mentally and socially stimulating activities was not associated with less brain shrinkage. Of course, that doesn’t mean mental stimulation and social engagement aren’t helpful with other common aging experiences, such as increased difficulty in learning new skills and depression. But in terms of the physical volume of the brain, this study suggests a good workout helps more than even the most vexing sudoku puzzle.
So while you are out training for you next triathlon, biking, running, or swimming event you can be happy to know that you are not just working your skeletal muscles and heart muscles, but also stimulating your brain to keep it healthy as well!
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