The Brain-Body Connection
Recent research coming out of Germany links specific exercises with cognitive health. The research points to the brain’s gray matter and total brain volume being aided by these exercises, slowing the rate of cognitive decline and perhaps offering some protection against age-related dementia.
Specifically, the type of physical activities known as cardiorespiratory exercise may be what’s helping. These activities, like a brisk walk or biking at a high-intensity speed, increase one’s heart rate. Researchers measured the participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness by measuring their peak oxygen uptake. They then studied brain data acquired by MRI. The results indicate that people who engage in these types of exercise had a statistically slower rate of gray matter decline.
The study notes that greater gray matter volume produced through exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that working up a sweat will shield you from Alzheimer’s disease. It does, however, shed light on potential lifestyle factors at play when considering other forms of age-related dementia. When mixed with all the other benefits of physical fitness, that potential upside certainly justifies the time and sweat you’ll be investing.