What’s good for the heart is good for the brain, so if you want to remember your most heartwarming and precious memories, it’s a good idea to get moving.
New research shows that when sedentary adults started to exercise, they had improvements in their ability to recall meaningful moments or events vividly. This type of memory is called episodic memory, and it is one of the first areas of cognition to show changes in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers reviewed 36 studies involving 2,750 people (with an average age of 71) who exercised for 15 to 90 minutes three times per week for 18 to 39 weeks.
Although the benefits were most pronounced in those who’d yet to experience any memory loss, everyone showed benefits in recall when they exercised consistently several times per week.
You don’t have to get up and exercise every day, either, to experience some benefit. They found that being active at least three times per week was enough to see a benefit. It took about four months of consistent activity for the benefits in episodic memory to appear.
Routine physical activity can also help with sleep and mood, as well as heart health and body weight, which all have an impact on brain function and memory.
The study looked mainly at the benefits of walking, dancing, and swimming, but any form of activity will work. The most important thing is that it is something that is accessible and enjoyable. Doing something you like makes it very easy to stick with.
Walking is accessible to most people and is extremely underrated when it comes to benefits. It is not only great for mobility and physical movement, but studies suggest it can help reduce stress and increase well-being.
If you’re interested in boosting brain power into your older years and holding onto your fondest memories, speak with your doctor about a suitable approach to exercise.