Exercise has many health benefits for people of all ages. Regular exercises lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels, improve your mood and sleep quality, make your muscles and joints stronger, give you more energy … you name it. However, according to a recent large study, exercise will not help if you are a woman of 45-66 years old and want to improve the speed of your thinking processes and your memory.

To come to this unexpected conclusion, the researchers observed 1.718 women at midlife (av. 45 years old) over a 21-year period. The study tested the womens cognitive functions in 3 key areas: processing speed, verbal memory (the ability to recall an information they heard) and working memory (the ability to hold information in mind and use it in short term).

The study found out that over the 21 years, women’s cognitive processing speed declined by a total of 8% (which is about 0.4% per year), and that verbal and working memory declined more slowly, dropping by 4% and 3%, respectively. After adjusting for other risk factors for cognitive aging, researchers found no relation between physical activity and cognitive performance over time in the three cognitive areas tested.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that exercise will not contribute to better preservation of general health later in life. Moreover, the researchers pointed out that in their study, the women selected exercises that were not enough to slow brain aging. Whether increasing physical activity can help to preserve cognitive function is a topic for further investigation.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

On my website you can find the latest scientific findings related to lifestyle and its influence on your brain health.

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