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MONDAY, April 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Can a new exercise regimen boost your brain health if you’re over 50?

Possibly, suggests a new research review that found middle-age folks can improve their thinking and memory skills by adopting regular moderate-to-vigorous routines involving aerobic and resistance exercise.

“When we combined the available data from [39 previous] studies, we were able to show that undertaking physical exercise was able to improve the brain function of people aged 50 and over,” said study lead author Joseph Northey. He’s a doctoral candidate and teaching fellow at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise in Australia.

The review included 18 studies that looked at the impact of aerobic exercise — such as walking, running and swimming — on thinking, alertness, information processing, executing goals and memory skills.

Resistance training, such as weight lifting, was the focus of 13 studies. Another 10 studies looked at various types of exercise done in combination. And, a handful of studies specifically explored the impact of tai chi and yoga on brain health.

Study participants did their exercise under some degree of supervision, the researchers noted.

Activity routines were categorized in terms of exercise type, intensity and length. They were then stacked up against the results of tests that measured brain performance.

In the end, the researchers determined that exercise did help brain health. However, different forms of exercise were linked to different types of benefits.

For example, aerobic exercise and tai chi appeared to enhance overall brain function. Resistance training was linked to improved memory.

Northey added that, besides highlighting the benefits of aerobic exercise, “being able to show that resistance training — such as lifting weights or using body weight — was similarly beneficial is a very novel and important…



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