To give seniors a boost in their reasoning skills and brain processing speed it’s important for them to exercise for about 52 hours in a 6-month period – a little over 2 hours per week. Fortunately, low-impact exercises (e.g. walking & water aerobics or swimming) are as beneficial as other types of exercise.
How Exercise Impacts Your Brain
Research is continuously pointing out that exercise is great for your brain. One study in Medical News Today showed how running protect your brain from stress’ harmful effects. There’s also research showing that exercise keeps your brain young and cognitive impairment at bay. What’s still being investigated is how much exercise is necessary for you to receive these cognitive benefits.
Joyce Gomes-Osman, Ph.D. at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida conducted a meta-analysis of 98 completed studies consisting of over 11,000 participants ages 73 and over to determine this. She focused heavily on a group of seniors who exercised for at least four weeks before having their cognitive skills compared to those who hadn’t exercised. By the end of her study only 26% had signs of cognitive impairment while 15% had dementia.
Why Exercise is Important to Seniors’ Health
Research has found that when you move your legs, you’re telling your brain to produce new neurons. This is why aerobic exercise (e.g. walking) is so important. When this low-intensity exercise is done for at least 52 hours over a 6 month period seniors demonstrate better processing speed meaning that their brains are able to carry out tasks faster. This is especially important for anyone who’s already facing mild cognitive impairment. However, even healthy seniors showed some improvement in their executive functioning (their ability to plan ahead, set and achieve goals, and strategize).
It’s important to note that those who didn’t exercise as much didn’t reap these same benefits. It didn’t matter whether they were healthy or not. Additionally, the research didn’t find a link between how much exercise a person did and how well their memory improved. Instead it simply discovered that all types of exercise (e.g. strength training, aerobic, yoga) are equally beneficial to seniors’ health, especially when it came to their thinking skills. In fact, Gomes-Oman commented that the only thing that seemingly mattered was the amount of time that seniors spent exercising. The more they exercised, the better the results they received. Gomes-Oman believes this is why even those who participated in low-intensity exercise programs were still able to benefit when it came to their thinking skills. This is good news since not everyone has the same stamina or motivation when it comes to starting a moderately intense exercise program.
While you’re up and moving about, make sure you stop by Countryside Hearing Aid Services for another important part of your senior’s health: their hearing. Making sure that they’re hearing everything in their environment is important to their quality of life. This is something we’re committed to and have helped many people with over the years so make sure you contact us today so that we can help you too.
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