Do you want to keep memories in old age?  Train three times a week

Do you want to keep memories in old age? Train three times a week

Do you want to keep memories in old age? Exercise three times a week in 50s and 60s, scientists say

  • University of Pittsburgh researchers examined 3,000 adults aged 55 to 85.
  • Exercise three times a week for four months led to better memory retention
  • Scientists did not look at whether exercise intensity played a role

The study suggests that staying active in your 50s and 60s may be the key to preventing memory loss.

Scientists studied 3,000 middle-aged adults and found a strong relationship between their level of physical activity and their ability to remember key life events.

The results showed that people who do aerobic exercise such as cycling, walking or jogging three times a week have better memory.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, preventing the death of neurons with age – preserving memories.

The University of Pittsburgh claims that exercising three times a week for four months can help preserve memory later in life.  Dozens of studies have already shown that exercise has a protective effect on memory.

The University of Pittsburgh claims that exercising three times a week for four months can help preserve memory later in life. Dozens of studies have already shown that exercise has a protective effect on memory.

The findings, published in the journal Communications Medicine, are based on a meta-analysis of 36 studies.

University of Pittsburgh scientists say individual articles often fail to spot trends because they can be too small.

But once their findings from existing studies were combined, an obvious connection between the two became apparent.

Lead author Sara Agjayan said: “We found that people aged 55 to 68 have better memories than those aged 69 to 85, so it’s better to intervene sooner.”

“Our study suggests that exercising three times a week for at least four months is what you need to reap the benefits of episodic memory.

“The public health implications are clear: exercise is an affordable way older adults can prevent memory decline, benefiting themselves, their caregivers, and the health care system.”

“You just need a good pair of walking shoes and you can get out there and move your body.”

The results also showed that exercise levels must be maintained for at least four months for people to experience any benefit.

The scientists looked at aerobic exercise, including walking, running, cycling or swimming.

They didn’t include anaerobic exercise like yoga or the gym, although they can also improve memory.

The participants were mostly women (66 percent) who studied between 1985 and 2021.

Only adults without cognitive impairment showed improvement in memory.

This does not apply to those who have already experienced slight memory impairment.

But the researchers said this could be because they don’t stick to the exercise plan as carefully, or because of differences in how the decline was defined between studies.

Previous research has also shown that regular exercise can prevent memory loss.

HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO YOU NEED

To stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active every day and do the following:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking each week, and
  • strength training 2 or more days a week that engages all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms)

Or:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or playing singles tennis each week and
  • strength training 2 or more days a week that engages all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms)

Or:

  • a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity each week—for example, 2 x 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equals 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • strength training 2 or more days a week that engages all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms)

A good rule of thumb is that 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

One way to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week is to exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week.

All adults should also interrupt prolonged sitting with light activity.

Source: National Health Service

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