Exercise Helps Long-Term Cognition

Cognitive benefits from workouts are being proven to accumulate to yield long-term cognitive gains.

New research was presented last month at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) in San Francisco, CA, about the effects of exercise on the brain.  Researchers are finding that brain changes that occur after a single workout are predictive of what happens with sustained physical training over time.

“There is a strong and direct link between physical activity and how your brain works,” says Wendy Suzuki of New York University (NYU), who chaired a symposium on the topic at CNS. “People still do not link physical health to brain and cognitive health; they think about fitting into a bikini or losing that last pound, not about all the brain systems they are improving and enhancing every time they work out.”

The new study showing that immediate cognitive effects from exercise mirror long-term ones is the first of its kind, as short- and long-term effects are typically examined in different studies, says Michelle Voss of the University of Iowa, who led the study. Her team’s initial findings are good news for the field of cognitive neuroscience, as they suggest that the brain changes observed after a single workout study can be a biomarker of sorts for long-term training.

Whether you are young or young-at-heart, regular exercise is more important than ever to your body and mind.  And, fitness for seniors – and those of us who are baby boomers – can be fun!

Not only is exercise is good for your heart, it’s also good for your brain. Exercising when young and fitness for seniors benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition’s progression once it starts, reports a Mayo Clinic study published in October 2011 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

So, I want to see you in the gym! Or, at least, walking a few quick laps around your office hallways.

About Fitness for Health:

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Do you want to lose weight, focus on weight management as an adult or combat childhood obesity?  Interested in toning your body?  Aspiring to improve your athletic edge?  No problem!  Whether you are a child or a senior citizen, Fitness for Health can you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential.