Exercise: The Key to Better Brain Function?

Posted on March 6, 2017

Photo: flickr

The word “exercise” is perhaps one of the most commonly used in today’s world, as exercise appears to be the key to many things. This study points to yet another benefit of physical activity.

Research led by Professor Hideaki Soya has shown that the brains of older Japanese men who have kept themselves physically healthy perform in much the same way as brains of younger counterparts. Typically, during a memory test, a senior citizen uses both the right and left side of his or her prefrontal cortex for a short-term memory task, while a younger person would usually only utilise his or her left prefrontal cortex. The reason for this is simple: as we age, the brain deteriorates in its ability to function, causing us to have to use more of our brains to perform a task. In essence, older brains do usually have to work harder than younger brains.

Evidence from this study supports the idea that consistent physical activity late in life would increase brain function. It has been theorised that fitter seniors can better maintain the white matter in the linkages between both sides of the brain, as the volume and effectiveness of the white matter usually decreases with age. Many of the more physically active seniors also had faster reaction times, another indication of increased brain function as compared to that of people their age who might not be as fit.

Perhaps it is high time that we exercise, and keep at it. You could, quite literally, keep your brain young even in old age.

Category(s):Aging & Geriatric Issues

Source material from PsyBlog

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