As seniors age, it is normal for them to experience cognitive changes such as forgetfulness and memory impairment. Although this is a natural part of the aging process, there might be ways to mitigate these changes and boost cognitive health. For example, we all know that leading an active lifestyle can bring many positive benefits to our health and well-being. For seniors, regular cardiovascular exercise may now also help their memory.
A New Study on Aerobic Exercise and Memory
A new study shows that consistent cardio activity can help older adults strengthen their memory and reduce impairment in that part of the brain. Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 30 volunteers ran or stretched three times a week for around 30 minutes per session. Each volunteer had some level of memory impairment and hoped to see improvement in this area. After a year of consistent stretching and cardio activity, researchers measured cerebral blood flow levels in each of the participants.
Aerobic Exercises and Senior Memory
For the seniors in the running group, blood flow increased to two key brain areas related to memory retention: the anterior cingulate cortex and the prefrontal cortex. In fact, the running group saw an incredible 47% jump in their memory tests. The stretching group however only saw minimal improvement in memory tests over the course of the year. Although this was a small study, researchers said it shows the benefit of aerobic exercise for people regardless of their age.
Cardio’s Impact on Dementia Risk
Cardiovascular exercise could help seniors lower their risk of dementia, even as they get into the very late stages of life. Dementia doesn’t have to be pre-destined for human beings and aerobic exercises can help increase the likelihood of prevention. By boosting blood flow to the brain, seniors can ensure they are receiving an ample amount of oxygen and essential nutrients to maintain cognitive function.
Boosting Stress Reduction & Sleep Quality
In addition to reducing dementia risk, seniors who regularly partake in aerobic exercise can also reduce stress levels and boost their sleep quality. Unfortunately, seniors often struggle with sleep disturbances that can negatively impact memory. Regular cardiovascular activity can help them regulate sleep patterns and lead to deeper sleep cycles that help consolidate memory.
Cardio exercises can also reduce chronic stress levels that can damage memory and cognitive function. This is because aerobic workouts trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural stress-reducers. Consequently, seniors are less likely to see their memory suffer.
Choosing Cardiovascular Activities
Seniors must choose the right cardiovascular exercises for their health and safety. Low-impact options such as walking, swimming, and stationary cycling can be great options for those looking to avoid injury. To be safe, seniors should consult with their healthcare professionals before starting any new exercise routine. This is especially true for those with pre-existing health conditions.
Tips for Seniors Looking to Get Active
For seniors looking to integrate more cardiovascular exercise into their regular routine, it is important to start slow and gradually increase both the intensity and duration of the activity. Staying consistent is also extremely important for seniors who want to reap the benefits of these exercises over time, especially regarding their memory. Finally, don’t be afraid to try a variety of aerobic activities to keep your body in great health. Pay attention to how your body responds to different activities and make sure to adjust if you experience any pain or discomfort.
In conclusion, seniors looking to boost their memory strength can benefit from incorporating consistent cardiovascular activities into their lives. There are many benefits to doing so, including improved memory, better cognitive function, and reduced stress levels. It’s never too late to take up some healthy cardiovascular activities, regardless of your age!
By Maneeza Hasan