Keeping the heart fit keeps the brain fit

Harold Mandel's picture
Healthy man

Researchers have found that adults who are fitter have more brain activity and score better on memory tests.

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The desire to maintain brain health as we age is universal in nature. Scientists have come to the realization that it's helpful to stay fit to maintain a healthy brain.

Older adults who are fitter have increased brain activity while they are learning. In fact elderly adults with good cardiorespiratory fitness did better n memory tests than those with poor cardiorespiratory fitness.

Older adults who maintain cardiac fitness may also be keeping their brains in shape

What this means is that older adults who maintain cardiac fitness may also be keeping their brains in shape. This is believed to be the first study of its kind which has shown that older people who had good cardiorespiratory fitness did better on tasks dealing with memory than those with poor cardiorespiratory fitness. This is very significant in view of the fact that problems remembering new information is one of the most common complaints seen with aging. Furthermore one of the primary impairments seen with Alzheimer’s disease is lower memory performance.

In this study cardiorespiratory fitness was evaluated via measuring the ratio of inhaled and exhaled oxygen and carbon dioxide as participants walked and jogged on a treadmill. MRI scans were also done on these people to collect images of their brain as they learned and remembered names which were associated with pictures of faces which they were not familiar with.

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Older adults who were in really good shape displayed better memory performance and increased brain activity

It was noted that in comparison to younger adults the older adults found it more difficult to learn and remember the correct name which was associated with each face. Age differences in brain activation were also noted. However the extent to which elderly adults had these age associated changes in memory performance and brain activity was observed to be largely dependent on their level of fitness. Older adults who were in really good shape displayed better memory performance and increased brain activity patterns in comparison to their peers who were not well fit.

The highly fit elderly people showed increased brain activation in regions of the brain that show typical age associated decline. This suggests that fitness may very well contribute to maintenance of the brain. It was also interesting to note that older adults with higher levels of fitness displayed greater activation than younger adults in some regions of the brain. This finding suggests that fitness may also play a compensatory role in age associated decline of memory and the brain.

There is a positive association between aerobic fitness and memory in older adults

This study has been published in the journal Cortex. Researchers have found that there is a positive association between aerobic fitness and memory in older adults. Fitness has also been found to be associated with increased brain activity and reductions in age differences in some regions of the brain. Clearly cardiorespiratory fitness may actually contribute to neuroplasticity which is associated with healthier brain functioning.

Many people think that psychiatrists will assist them in achieving and maintaining brain health. However this consistently turns out not to be true with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights offering good insights into the destructive nature of psychiatry. In consideration that psychiatrists have created an abusive discipline which feeds off of the dependency created by the poisonous arsenal of psychiatric drugs and other abusive interventions it would be wise to try to stay away from psychiatrists while adhering to a healthy active lifestyle in the best interests of the health of your brain.

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