A new Australian study found that aerobic exercise can improve memory and maintain brain health as we age.
Researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University and the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the UK examined the effects of aerobic exercise on a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is critical for memory and other brain functions.
Brain health decreases with age, with the average brain shrinking by approximately five per cent per decade after the age of 40.
The researches included 737 people to study regularly viewing 14 clinical trials which examined their brain scans before and after aerobic exercise programs or in control conditions.
The researchers examined effects of aerobic exercise, including stationary cycling, walking, and treadmill running.
Overall, the results — published in the journal NeuroImage — showed that, while exercise had no effect on total hippocampal volume, it did significantly increase the size of the left region of the hippocampus in humans.
A new study, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting, found that compression tights do not reduce muscle fatigue and do not help run faster.
For their research, a team of researchers had people run on a treadmill for 30 minutes at 80% of their maximum speed, once wearing compression tights and once without them. After the completion of the experiment, scientists found that the muscle vibration, reduced by the tights, didn’t have an effect on fatigue at all, and the runners could not go faster (or farther) while wearing the tights.
Lead author of the study Ajit Chaudhari says: “There is nothing in this study that shows it’s bad to wear compression tights. Every little bit of perception counts when running long distances, so they may help runners in ways we aren’t able to measure.”
More and more studies, including two new studies published in the spring, find that any exercise, raising your heart rate and gets you moving and sweating for some period of time, or so-called aerobic exercise positively influence your brain, improving your memory, warding off stress, and boosting focus.
Scientists say that the best type of fitness, for your heart and brain, is any regular aerobic exercise that you can do for at least 45 minutes at a time.
Joe Northey, a lead author of the British study and an exercise scientist and the University of Canberra, says that his research suggests that anyone in good health over 50 should do 45 minutes to an 1 hour of aerobic exercise on as many days of the week as feasible.