Exercise And Diet Can Boost Brain Health

It is a well-established fact in the medical literature that the benefits of a healthy diet, regular exercise, and physical activity are numerous, from reducing blood pressure to lowering the risk of falls.

But a study recently published in the journal Neurology reported that a healthy diet along with regular aerobic exercise may also improve brain health and improve performance on cognitive tests, even in those already showing signs of an aging brain. Before these new findings, it was unclear if this healthy behavior initiated later in life would reverse signs of an already aging brain when compared with those following a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Aerobic exercise in this study was defined as three months of supervised physical activity at a research facility in which subjects attained 70 percent of their peak heart rates on a treadmill or stationary bike three times a week. Diet in this study was defined as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), which emphasizes reducing salt and increasing fiber to control blood pressure and improve heart health.

Role Of Aerobics

Aerobic exercise was strictly defined in this study, but that should not intimidate anyone interested in exercise. In a broader sense, aerobic exercise is any type of sustained exercise that strengthens the heart and lungs to improve the body’s use of oxygen. This may include running/jogging, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, and the use of a treadmill, elliptical, stepper or similar device, at light to moderate intensity, which requires the use of oxygen to adequately meet the demands of the body for an extended period of time. The generally accepted time and frequency are at least 30-minute sessions performed three or more times per week.

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