Doing moderate amount of Physical Exercise, such as jogging or cycling, several times a week can help keep brain power intact in people aged 50 and above, a new study has suggested.

Experts have long believed that physical exercise is the best way to reduce the risk of a variety of lifestyle-related diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and even some types of cancers. A moderate amount of exercise also helps in age-related memory loss by slowing down the rate of brain cell damage. Physical exercise boosts supply of nutrients, blood, and oxygen in brain and significantly affects the release of growth hormone in the body, thus helping in creation of new neurons in the brain.

Some earlier brain scan studies have also demonstrated that daily physical exercise increases the density of blood vessels and brain cells in some specific areas in the brain.

Aerobic exercise can help in improving the cognitive abilities

In the latest study—the detailed findings of which have been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine—researchers from the University of Canberra analyzed the effect of physical exercise on brain functions in people aged 50 or above. Researchers analyzed 39 previous studies, published from 1989 to 2016, which examined the effect of physical exercise on memory, alertness, thinking, and information-processing abilities in middle-aged people. The findings revealed that aerobic exercise can immensely help people by improving their cognitive abilities, such as reading, thinking, reasoning and learning.

About 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise several times a week was found to improve mental abilities of a middle-aged individual. Similarly, muscle training exercises were also found to improve planning and organizing abilities of a brain.

Joe Northey, study author from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise at Canberra, suggests that the results of their study are convincing to prescribe both types of exercise (aerobic and muscle training) in improving brain health in people aged above 50.

According to Northey, this study also indicates that Tai chi could be helpful in improving brain’s health in people who are unable to do physical exercises, although more studies are required to confirm this result.

Physical exercise offers protection against heart damage

In another study—the findings of which have been published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology—researchers found that physical exercise offers immense benefits to obese people by protecting their heart from damage.

In this study, researchers studied more than 9,000 obese people who were not having any specific heart problem at the time of research. The findings revealed that subjects who exercised regularly and remained active throughout the day had minimum levels of a heart damage marker. However, the risk increased in people who used to remain inactive for most of the day and had minimum interest in exercises.