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.
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