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Ask Dr. Nandi: Cardio workouts boost the aging brain

Posted at 4:45 PM, Dec 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 16:46:34-05

We’ve known for a long time that exercise is great for the heart. But a new study shows that a good workout may actually be excellent for the brain too.

Researchers have found that aerobic exercise, done several times a week, can improve mild cognitive impairment in aging adults. 

It’s the intermediary stage between normal mental decline that happens naturally to adults as they get older, and the more serious degeneration that’s marked by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment usually involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes. 

QUESTION: Any advice for people out there who may want to take advantage of these new findings?

Yeah it’s pretty simple actually. We just need to make some sort of aerobic exercise a priority in our lives. Here are my prescriptions:

  1. Make aerobic exercise a regular part of your daily routine. Walk, jog, or run for at least 150 minutes a week. 
  2. That’s 30 minutes five days a week, or 50 minutes three days a week. Whichever works better for you.
  3. The level of exertion should allow you to work up a sweat, but doesn’t need to be so rigorous that you can’t hold a conversation.
  4. Have fun. A workout routine won’t last unless you enjoy it. 

Around the world, at least six percent of people in their 60s have it. And the condition becomes more common as we age.

Once people hit 85-years-old, the prevalence of the condition goes up to about 37 percent. So finding ways to push it back or keep it at bay are very important. Because this is a very common problem the world over.