Exercise boosts brain power in over-fifties
45 minutes' exercise a week boosts brain power in over-fifties
"Just 45 minutes of exercise a week boosts the brain power of people in their fifties and over, major new research has revealed.
A review of dozens of previous studies found that even one session of moderate aerobic and resistance activity is enough to enhance people's alertness, decision-making and memory.
Scientists have long believed that exercising slows down the cognitive decline that occurs naturally as people move from middle to old age, however the new analysis is the first of its kind to show that brain power actually improves from staying fit.
Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the analysis is also the first to identify the key role played by resistance training, such as weights or core strength activity, in boosting brain function.
Until now, medics had overwhelmingly focused their research on aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, jogging or fast walking, as being good for the mind.
They now believe, however, that resistance training benefits the brain in different ways, stimulating additional areas of growth.
Joseph Northey, who led the research at the University of Canberra, said doctors should be proactively prescribing exercise as a form of preventative medicine.
'Even exercising on one or two days of the week seemed to be effective, but the most important thing we found was the intensity of the exercise,' he said.
'It should be moderate, but aiming to get some vigorous intensity in there as well.'
UK Government guidelines currently recommend that adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should try to complete at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, such as cycling or fast walking, as well as strength exercises that work all the major muscles on two or more days."