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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 19, 2008

Move Your Body for Your Brain

By Worker Bee
10 Comments

A study presented Wednesday at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting suggests that regular physical exercise may offer a protective benefit against mild cognitive impairment.

How cognitively impaired are we talking here? Think forgetting where you left your keys, remembering events, appointments, or to check Mark’s Daily Apple every day (as if you could ever forget that!) or recalling the details of a conversation.

Conducted as part of an ongoing study of aging, researchers from the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic surveyed 868 people ages 70 to 89 about their exercise habits between ages 50 and 65. Researchers also screened all participants for signs of mild cognitive impairment.

According to the study, those that reported participating in moderate exercise such as brisk walking one to five times per week were less likely to experience cognitive impairment problems than their peers who exercised less. However, the researchers note that cognitive impairment did not appear to be influenced by exercise activity within the previous year.

Speculating on the mechanism behind the link, the study’s lead author suggests that “exercise induces chemicals that protect brain cells, or exercise is simply a marker for an overall healthy lifestyle, or there is some positive interaction among exercise, healthy lifestyle and intellectually stimulating activity.”

Acknowledging his rather shaky opinion regarding the link, he calls for further research to explore the findings.

Groundbreaking stuff? Well, no, not really. But it does add to the growing body of research suggesting that the benefits of exercise extend beyond physical health. In fact, these findings are likely to prove especially pertinent to the growing legions of baby boomers who, if the study’s findings are correct, could benefit tremendously from starting a regular exercise routine to stave off some of the cognitive declines associated with aging. In addition, while a long track record of physical activity is certainly preferential, the study suggests that even adopting an exercise routine in your 60s can yield significant benefits in the future.

So, the next time you’re pondering where you left your keys or why on earth you would put your cell phone in your shoe, consider logging a few extra trips around the block. You’ll thank us (because you will remember to) later down the road!

zappowbang Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Mature Muscle?

The Role of Lean Muscle Mass and Organ Reserve in Aging

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10 Comments on "Move Your Body for Your Brain"

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primalman
primalman
8 years 5 months ago

“Spark”:

Not sure that this has been discussed here. I have discussed this book elsewhere. Anyway, it should be on the “must read” list, especially if you find the body-brain connection as fascinating as I do.

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[…] Move Your Body for Your Brain […]

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[…] Walking is good for thinking. And physical health. But you should take a long walk to prepare for a good 2013 mostly because it’ll help you think about what must be done. […]

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[…] does much more than work the area underneath your neck. It also has extensive cognitive benefits, improving memory in seniors, cognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents […]

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[…] ‘Move Your Body for Your Brain’. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/exercise-protection-mild-cognitive-impairment/#axzz2u7hxURmS […]

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[…] does much more than work the area underneath your neck. It also has extensive cognitive benefits, improving memory in seniors, cognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents […]

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[…] makes us feel so good after a walk. Numerous studies have shown that regular walking is conducive to improved cognitive function, particularly for the elderly. In fact, walking has also been proven to improve academic […]

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[…] does much more than work the area underneath your neck. It also has extensive cognitive benefits, improving memory in seniors, cognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents […]

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[…] does much more than work the area underneath your neck. It also has extensive cognitive benefits, improving memory in seniors, cognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents […]

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[…] Just getting up and moving your body in general is a great way to get your pistons firing, but walking is a great way to ease your body into the day. Morning walks are not only great for your body from a physical aspect, but studies  have also proven boosts in mental cognition, ability to handle stress, and creativity as well. […]

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