Regular exercise improves memory in old age, even if done in your 50s and 60s, study shows – as studies whether keeping fit can slow dementia
- UCL study found that exercising once a month can protect memory in a 30-year study
- The study of 1,400 people will monitor participants to see if dementia is delayed
Jogging just once a month is enough to protect your memory later in life, research shows — even for people who sit on the couch in their 50s or 60s.
Scientists at University College London (UCL) followed the exercise habits of 1,400 participants over a period of 30 years.
When each person turned 69, the volunteers took a test to assess their memory, attention, language and verbal fluency.
Those who were classified as moderately active — meaning they exercised one to four times a month — fared better than those who exercised less often.
At least 30 minutes of a variety of activities, including badminton, swimming, fitness exercises, yoga, dancing, soccer, jogging or even just brisk walking counted as one exercise session.
Jogging just once a month is enough to protect your memory later in life, research shows — even for people who sit on the couch in their 50s or 60s (stock photo)
Volunteers also completed questionnaires at five points during the study – at ages 36, 43, 53, 60 to 64, and 69. Overall, 11 percent of participants were physically inactive on all five counts, while 15 percent were exercising at any time. phase.
The majority of the group – one in five – said they exercised at least twice a month. Previous studies have suggested that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia by a third.
Much of this research has focused on fitness in middle age, with benefits for those who exercise the NHS-recommended 150 minutes a week.
But the researchers behind the new study say their results are proof that every little bit helps and that it’s never too late to start.
Dr. Sarah-Naomi James, a researcher at UCL and principal investigator of the trial, will assess whether the patterns of exercise could ultimately delay the onset of dementia
Dr. Sarah-Naomi James, a researcher at UCL and principal investigator of the study, said her study provides “evidence for encouraging inactive adults to be even mildly active…at any time during adulthood” to improve cognition. and improve memory later in life.
Frequent exercise is said to improve blood flow in the brain, leading to increased activity in areas related to learning and memory.
Dr James will continue to monitor the cohort to assess whether the exercise patterns may ultimately delay the onset of dementia.
“We hope this will be the world’s first cradle-to-grave study — where we’ve studied people throughout their lives,” she added.