If you’re an older adult or elderly individual, it’s vital for your health and wellbeing that you maintain a high level of fitness. This can be achieved through various activities such as: swimming, jogging, walking and even dancing! It has also been stated that these activities will help improve your brain functions and even boost your memory! By increasing these brain functions, it is possible to help fight against diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
According to a recent study, fitness levels in older adults massively affects age-related changes such as memory performance and brain activity. In the same study, adults who regularly exercised and displayed good cardiac levels had much better brain activity patterns and memory performance compared to adults of lower fitness levels of the same age range.
Scott Hayes, an Assistant Professor at Boston University stated that starting an exercise regime, whatever age you are, can not only assist in keeping your fitness levels high but can also contribute to improving your brain functions and overall memory performance.
The study included groups of young adults between the ages of 18-31 and a selection of older adults between the ages of 55-74. In the tests, the individuals jogged and walked on treadmills while the researchers monitored their cardiorespiratory fitness levels. In the results, older individuals who had high scores on the CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness) tests also performed better on the memory tasks compared to those who had low CRF results. CRF is a flexible health factor, one that can be improved greatly through frequent commitments to average and intense physical activities. Not only is participation in these activities crucial for physical health but also vital in maintaining healthy brain activity and good memory functions.
Alongside this, the researchers also found that elderly adults with poor fitness levels had much more of a challenge in learning and remembering names when presented with unfamiliar people and faces. These individuals consequently displayed less brain activity in some areas but increased activity in others. Additionally, these increased activity areas were located in brain regions that regularly show age-related recession. All these combined led the researchers to safely assume that good fitness levels contributes to maintaining a healthy brain.