It’s a brain-a-thon. Being active throughout your life might help you think straight as you age.
In a Toronto study, 9,344 older women from the United States described their physical activity levels at four stages of their life: In the teen years, at age 30, at age 50 and after age 65. These results were compared to their mental functioning at the time of the study; and the result indicated that exercise does seem to affect brain health.
“Women who were more active or who were active at each age had lower rates of cognitive impairment than those who were inactive,” said Dr. Laura Middleton from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
And, in particular, exercise in the teen years pays off, Middleton added.
“The most interesting finding was that it was indeed teenage physical activity status that was most strongly related to likelihood of cognitive impairment at old age.”
If you are young, dementia may seem a remote possibility, but it’s quite common. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms dementia affect one in four Canadians over the age of 65. If you are older and didn’t exercise as a teen, don’t despair. Taking up physical activity at any age appears to be helpful against cognitive impairment.