New research suggests that just a little bit of exercise can help keep your brain sharp as you get older. The work may be one of the first studies to look at exactly how exercise may interact with brain networks and functions.
The study is not saying you have to go out and start running marathons to get the reported benefits, either. It suggests that simply spending more time active, which could be just moving more around your home, can pay dividends.
The researchers believed that your brain networks are in constant communication. However, they are active at different times. Some networks may be active during restful periods, where others are active during activity.
It can be like a switch – when you start moving, some networks begin communicating while others shut down.
When these changes do not occur, or the various networks aren’t given the time to shut off or on, it may indicate that the brain is not functioning as well as it should be. It may, then, impact the ability to perform basic daily functions, like remembering important information of exhibiting self-control.
Researchers decided to measure the fitness and physical activity of adults of 51 older adults. They had their thinking skills measured with tests and cognitive functioning observed with MRIs.
They found that overall brain network functioning improves with physical activity.
You don’t need too much, either. Radical life changes are not required. Instead, it could involve things like parking a little further from the entrance at the grocery store, taking the stairs, or going for a walk each day.
It’s just about finding ways to feature more activity into your day doing the things you’re already doing.