Guess I Really Need to Exercise

Apparently exercise is one way (an important way, maybe even a vital way) to keep the brain working as you age.

Briefly, the investigators found that adults who did not smoke, exercised once a week, were socially active, had at least a high school education and a ninth grade literacy level, were more likely to maintain cognitive skills through their 70s and 80s.

“To this day, the majority of past research has focused on factors that put people at greater risk to lose their cognitive skills over time, but much less is known about what factors help people maintain their skills, Fiocco noted in a statement.

Fiocco’s team tracked the cognitive function of 2,509 well-functioning white and black adults who were between 70 and 78 years of age at the start of the study.

During 8 years of follow-up, 53 percent of the study subjects showed minor cognitive decline normally associated with aging and 16 percent showed major cognitive decline. However, 30 percent of the study subjects maintained cognitive function, the team reports in the journal Neurology.

Further investigation revealed that people who exercised moderately to vigorously at least once a week were 30 percent more likely to maintain their cognitive function than those who did not exercise that often.

Those who had at least a high school education were nearly three times as likely to stay sharp as those who with less education. Elderly with a ninth grade literacy level or higher were nearly five times as likely to stay sharp as those with lower literary levels and non-smokers were nearly twice as likely to stay sharp as those who smoked.

People working or volunteering and those living with someone were also more likely to maintain cognitive function late in life.

from Reuter’s Health