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Why It’s Never Too Late for Exercise

Why It’s Never Too Late for Exercise

Want to boost your brainpower and your fitness? A new study out of Canada illustrates just how good-for-the-brain any activity or exercise can be.

Researchers divided around 50 people ages 64 to 76 into three groups -- and measured their cognitive skills. One group was then assigned high intensity exercises to increase lower body strength and aerobic capacity. A second focused on high intensity upper body strength-building and aerobic training; and a third did lower intensity gross motor activities, such as tossing or kicking a ball, balancing on one foot (with a chair if needed), and our favorite, walking. After working out three times a week for eight weeks, all three groups showed equal improvement in their brain’s executive functioning, such as task-switching, planning and working memory.

So, whatever your age or physical abilities, here are our recommendations:

  1. Begin doing what you can (talk with your doc). Comfortable with a 60-minute walk? Great! Over time, increase speed and distance. If you’re better off doing chair-based exercises -- get into it! Slowly increase reps and add variations to your routine.
  2. Aim to break a sweat -- it means you’re using your muscles, increasing respiration and clearing out toxins. All brain candy!
  3. Stay engaged by joining a group walk or exercise class. Enlist friends to join you. 

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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