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Regular exercise found to boost brain health among over 50s

Combining aerobic and resistance exercise significantly boosts brain health in the over 50s, a study has found.

Combining aerobic and resistance exercise significantly boosts brain health in the over 50s, a study has found.

Exercise
Exercise helps brain health in the over 50s, a study has found. Picture: iStockphoto

A combination of aerobic and resistance exercise significantly boosts brain health in the over 50s, a comprehensive study has found.

Researchers at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise in Australia reviewed 39 studies of supervised exercise published in English up to the end of 2016 to assess the potential impact of varying types, intensities and durations on the brain.

They included aerobic exercise, resistance training such as weights, multi-component exercise containing elements of both aerobic and resistance training, tai chi and yoga in their analysis.

Aerobic exercise significantly enhanced cognitive ability, while resistance training had a pronounced effect on executive function or goal-oriented behaviour, memory retention and retrieval, and working memory or short-term use of found information.

The improvements were evident irrespective of the current state of an individual’s brain health.


Northey J (2017), Exercise interventions for cognitive function in adults older than 50: a systematic review with meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096587

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