Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has shown that older people’s cognitive function can improve with physical exercises, primarily regarding the speed of mental processing, in both healthy adults and people with mild cognitive impairment.
The researchers pointed out that aerobic exercises, as well as cardio exercises, such as walking, running or cycling, but also lifting weights or, for example, practicing yoga or tai-chi, can increase the cognitive performance by boosting the thinking skills in the brain in both healthy adults and those suffering from cognitive issues.
According to other specialists, however, the essential factor to benefit from the advantages of physical activity is knowing precisely how much physical activity is beneficial. This fact, according to them, can only be achieved under medical supervision, as improving cognitive function could demand regular exercises in the long-term.
Physical exercises could indeed improve cognitive function
As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), physical inactivity is the fourth risk factor for global mortality, accounting for 6 percent of deaths worldwide. For this reason, the experts recall that an adequate level of exercise reduces the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and depression.
On the other hand, physical exercises improve bone and muscle health and is a fundamental factor in regulating the energy expenditure which is essential for calorie balance and weight management, especially in older adults. In addition to aerobic exercise, the specialists also point out that, at maturity, doing workouts for muscle mass is a necessary practice to prevent sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging.
All these benefits of physical activity also imply a healthy brain, besides a healthy body. When working out the brain secretes various hormones that improve the mood, in the first place, while, secondly, the increased oxygenation of the brain enhances the cognitive function, speeding up the mental processing.