Brain power

Paul Adamson
May 1, 2017

A lot of news about the benefits of health isn’t really news at all. Academic studies appear all the time revealing exactly what most of us have been thinking for years. Just recently a major review of dozens of previous studies ‘revealed’ that 45 minutes of exercise a week boosts the brain power of people in their 50s and over*.

As people get older there is an inevitable slowing of cognitive function. Exercise slows down this decline and, this study shows, can in fact improve brain power.

Or as the old adage goes, healthy in body, healthy in mind. So what’s new?

Well, the general conclusion is old hat, I would say, but the study does show that a mixture of aerobic exercise and resistance training is key to boosting brain function. The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have been known for years – swimming, cycling, jogging etc. But the study says that resistance training – such as weights or core strength activity – stimulates additional areas of growth. The most important thing was the intensity of the exercise (those fans of HIT will be pleased), with the best form of exercise being those that raised the heart rate and left participants slightly out of breath.  

I don’t want to come over as smug but I’ve been advising my clients for years now that they should choose a variety of exercise, combining aerobic and resistance training. But the most important thing is to choose exercise you enjoy. That way you’ll stick with it and have more chance of enjoying a ripe and lucid old age.

 

 

· British Journal of Sports Medicine

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2017/04/21/bjsports-2016-096846

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