Aerobic Fitness Helps Mental Health

Recently, the University of California conducted a study that contended that having healthy heart and lungs may reduce mental decline.  350 adults, aged 59-88, in healthy condition, underwent medical exams and interviews to assess their social, physical and emotional health, then were subjected to a test of aerobic fitness, measured with a treadmill, that was then repeated six years later.

Those participants who were less fit did not perform as well as they did initially, while the more fit participants were in higher scoring ranges.  The higher fitness level participants also had more education, better self rated health and more income, which may be a part of their higher scores.

Better physical condition based on aerobic fitness could improve brain function, lower heart disease, high blood pressure and risk of diabetes, which are all conditions that can affect mental capacity in elderly adults.  Blood flow can increase and nerve growth can be stimulated as well, which all can lead to improved cognitive function.

Current guidelines for fitness activities are for about 30 minutes per day of exercise. Recommended ways of getting this activity is to inquire with local senior centers and looking into group fitness options or joining health clubs, which can provide social interactions and motivations to stick to a fitness regimen.

Summarized from: Aerobic Fitness May Preserve Mental Capabilities   By Abigail Mellier

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