A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has reported that partaking in moderate exercise several times a week is the best way for over 50s to maintain cognitive ability as well as physical health.
Following a review of 39 studies, the Australian research claims that thinking and memory skills were improved in those who regularly exercised the heart and muscles. These improvements are also seen in older individuals who have previously demonstrated symptoms of cognitive decline, making taking up exercise worthwhile at any age.
It's long been established that physical exercise improves fitness and can help reduce susceptibility to diseases. It's now also believed that exercise promotes a greater supply of blood and oxygen to the brain, which in turn boosts the brain's health and mental abilities. It can also promote the growth of new neurons and connections within the structure of the brain.
But while the benefits of an active lifestyle are undeniable, getting the required amount of regular exercise can become more difficult with age. This is where walking comes in. In addition to strengthening your heart and lungs, promoting weight loss, boosting resilience to disease, helping to prevent dementia and improving mental and emotional wellbeing, walking is an exercise that can be enjoyed by almost anybody. Whether it's a regular short walk to the local shops, a longer meander through the countryside, or a trek to the top of a mountain, not only will walking have you feeling fitter, it can also have you thinking sharper too.
For more information or to read the original research article in full visit bjsm.bmj.com