Exercise is not only good for your muscles and your heart (which is a muscle as well), but also for your brain. A recent small study showed for the first time in a randomized trial that exercise can increase blood flow to the brain. In this study the older adults @ 55+ with mild memory loss followed an aerobic exercise or stretching program for 1 year. The exercise program involved 3-5 exercise sessions a week, each with 30-40 minutes of moderate exercise such as a brisk walk.

As a result, those participants who did exercises, had decreased stiffness of blood vessels in their neck and increased overall blood flow to the brain. Unfortunately, these positive results were not observed in the participants of the stretching program.

The increased blood flow to the brain of the participants seemed not to significantly affect memory or other cognitive functions. Researchers explain that more time is needed to notice any improvement to cognition as a result of an increased blood flow. They are already conducting a larger 2-year study to further investigate the influence of exercise on cognitive decline.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

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

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