Get off your coach and hit the streets! That is the advice of researchers from the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana who tracked the brain activity of adults from 58-78 years of age for six months. They found that the circuits of the brain that involve cognitive thinking and memory improve through regular exercise.

Many older people take for granted that memory lapses are just a normal part of aging. It doesn’t have to be. There are a number of reasons that our memories slow down, such as stress, distractions or lack of paying attention, but our ability to memorize and do normal functions does not have to be a normal part of growing old.

Magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scans were done on the test subjects and the first three months cardiovascular exercises were gradually added to their normal routine. The control group was assigned stretching and toning exercises that did not provide exertion. During the last three months of the study those who did the cardiovascular exercises were asked to take a brisk five-minute walk three times a week, while the control group did not change their routine.

Results were published in the February 17, 2011 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The exercisers improved their cognitive and memory skills 11% overall, while the control group only improved 2%. The stretching and toning exercises did do some good, but the improvement in those who did more physical exertion was substantially higher.

 “The kinds of tasks that we explored are similar to those encountered in real world situations, such as driving a vehicle or any endeavor that requires a person to pay attention despite distractions,” lead researcher and psychology professor Arthur F. Kramer stated.

In the last decade research has indicated that the more you exercise the more blood gets pumped through your veins and to your brain. With the blood supply comes oxygen, and your brain needs oxygen to jog your memory and cognitive skills. This could even help to fight off the negative effects of aging.

If it only took three months for these test subjects to improve 11%, even those who previously had not been very active, imagine what it could do to you after a longer period of time.  Additional testing on mice have new brain cells growing in the memory sections of the brain after exercise in as little as two weeks!

Add it all up, and you’ve got a good reason to get moving, says researcher Scott Small, MD, of Columbia University in New York.

“I, like many physicians, already encourage my patients to get active and this adds yet another reason to the long list of reasons why exercise is good for overall health,” Scott Small, MD of Columbia University in New York said in a news release.

As a caution, however, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you are not used to physical activity.



About the author:

Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life.



Sources: – Seniors Combat Cognitive Problems With Cardio Workouts – – Get Fit, Improve Memory: