elderly man and woman on bicycles

Aerobic Exercise for the Aging Brain

We’ve all heard that exercise helps improve body function and helps you stay younger longer. But how does aerobic exercise affect the brain, especially of an aging population?

Much prior research has stated that some age-related declines in cognitive function can be common. Alzheimer’s and dementia are associated with those declines and can be considered normal. These “normal” declines in cognition may include reductions in mental processing or memory complaints. So what can we do to reverse this? Studies show an increase in aerobic exercise is key!

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Among the many health benefits that aerobics brings, some of the most notable ones are weight loss, boosting cardiovascular health, reducing anxiety, and regulating moods.

In addition, there are a few more benefits:

  • It improves your strength, helping you stay independent longer
  • It improves your balance, which can prevent falls
  • It gives you more energy
  • It prevents or delays diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis
  • It can improve your mood and fight off depression
  • It may improve cognitive function (how your brain works)

A recent study covered by Medical News Today emphasized how low-intensity exercise can prevent depression. Researchers have also found that high-intensity workouts improve memory in older adults.

Exercise Stimulates the Brain

In a 2018 study by Neurolmage, a key brain region called the hippocampus in humans were compared before and after an aerobic exercise intervention. Those that maintained aerobic exercise as part of a routine showed higher positive effects on the size of the hippocampus.

The Function of the Hippocampus

The hippocampus is a seahorse-shaped region that is buried deep inside the center of the brain, which is responsible for learning and remembering new information. Tending to decrease in size as we age, the hippocampus is also one part of the brain that can shrink in individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. So along with diet, increased aerobic exercise can appear to prevent age-related decreases in hippocampal size in the language dominant left side of the brain.

It’s never too late to receive the benefits that aerobic exercise for the aging brain can provide to cognitive function. At South Coast Post Acute our skilled nurses and professionals help to get you the results that you need for a more improved you. As a Medicare five-star rated quality facility, the care we bring to every patient brings rehabilitation to the forefront.

Real People. Remarkable Care. South Coast Post Acute.

Award Recipient for Newsweek’s Best Nursing Homes 2020 | Medicare Five-Star Quality Rated

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