From puzzles to languages, activities have been proven to strengthen your memory and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. While it is important to keep your brain active in this process, the rest of your body also plays a role. New research shows that short exercise intervals are also critical.
Whether you dedicate a few minutes a day to a home workout or visit your local gym, all types of exercise are undoubtedly good for your health.
A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health proves once again that physical activity should be part of your daily routine.
A study has shown that just one daily workout can help “boost” your brain power in middle age.
The researchers explained that just six minutes of intense daily exercise should be enough to get things done.
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They found that both moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is vital in preventing brain deterioration.
This level of intensity can improve memory and mental processes such as planning and organization.
On the other hand, replacing intense daily exercise with light exercise or no exercise has been found to lead to cognitive decline.
Dr. John Mitchell, author of the study, said: “MVPA is typically the smallest part of the day in real terms and the most difficult intensity to achieve.
“Perhaps in part for this reason, losing any MVPA time seemed detrimental even to this relatively active cohort.”
The research team studied participants in the 1970 British Cohort Study, which included people born in England, Scotland and Wales in 1970, whose health was tracked through childhood and into adulthood.
Each participant completed detailed questionnaires about health, background and lifestyle.
They also wore activity trackers for at least 10 consecutive hours a day for seven days.
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During this time, they took various verbal memory cognitive tests, including immediate and delayed tasks, where they had to recall certain words.
A group of participants were also tested for their executive function, which describes the ability to plan, concentrate, multitask, and remember instructions.
The results showed that those who performed well on cognitive tasks spent more time doing MVPA and less time sleeping and doing stationary activities.
In addition, the results showed that the less MVPA in someone’s daily routine, the worse their cognitive performance.
While these results are very promising, each study should be treated with a grain of salt.
This study was purely observational, so it cannot establish the reason for these results.
And despite the large sample size, people of color were underrepresented in this study, limiting the results.
Dr. Mitchell added, “This robust method confirms the critical role of MVPA in supporting cognition, and efforts should be made to support this component of daily movement.”