Exercise activates brain networks in older adults
A study involving healthy older adults (55-85) found that recall was better after a session of moderately intense exercise, and several crucial brain regions showed greater activation.
The recall task involved identifying famous names and non famous ones. The test occurred 30 minutes after the exercise session (using an exercise bike) and on a separate day after a period of rest.
Light, physical activity reduces brain aging
Data from the Framingham Heart Study has found that each additional hour spent in light-intensity physical activity was associated with higher brain volumes, equivalent to approximately 1.1 years less brain aging.
Everyday physical activities linked to more gray matter in brains of older adults
Data from 262 older adults (mean age 81) in the long-running Rush's Memory and Aging Project, found that higher levels of lifestyle physical activity (e.g., house cleaning, dog-walking, gardening, as well as exercise) are associated with more gray matter.
Participants wore an accelerometer continuously for seven to ten days, in order to accurately measure the frequency, duration and intensity of a participant's activities.
The association between physical activity and gray matter volumes remained after further controlling for age, gender, education levels, body mass index and symptoms of depression.
(2019). Semantic Memory Activation After Acute Exercise in Healthy Older Adults.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 25(6), 557 - 568.
(2019). Association of Accelerometer-Measured Light-Intensity Physical Activity With Brain Volume: The Framingham Heart Study.
JAMA Network Open. 2(4), e192745 - e192745.
(Submitted). Accelerometer Physical Activity is Associated with Greater Gray Matter Volumes in Older Adults Without Dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment.
The Journals of Gerontology: Series B.