Seniors: Exercise boosts brain health

seniors-brainhealthResearchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center have shown that seniors can greatly benefit from exercise when it comes to boosting brain health.

With this study researchers wanted to know how much exercise was needed to improve the cognitive function. Participants were 65 and older with no signs of cognitive impairment.


Participants were put into one of four groups: A control group with no moderated exercise, a group who moderately exercised for 150 minutes a week, a group that exercised 75 minutes a week and a group which exercised fro 225 minutes a week.

Across all groups there were benefits to brain health, but those who exercised more improve their visual-spatial processing. This refers to the ability to perceive objects in space and determine how far apart objects are from each other. In everyday life, this might be the ability to gauge where steps are, and even reading. Attention levels and focus also increased among those who exercised the most.

Jeffrey Burns, a professor of neurology and co-director of the KU Alzheimer’s disease Center, said, “Basically, the more exercise you did, the more benefit to the brain you saw. Any aerobic exercise was good, and more is better.”

Although it was shown that longer amounts of exercise improved cognitive function, intensity as well plays a role. Eric Vidoni, a professor from KU Medican Center also suggests that the goal should be to boost your fitness level as well in order to achieve benefits to your brain.

The findings were published in PLOS ONE.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.