Exercising four times a week from childhood 'helps stave off dementia and increases brain power by a third!'
It is not only our heart and waistline that benefit from lifelong exercise – our brains do too.
Undertaking physical activity four or more times a week from childhood helps improve brainpower in later life by up to a third, and could help stave off the onset of dementia.
While all adults suffer mental decline with greater age, scientists found regular exercise, such as playing sport, jogging, attending the gym or even a brisk walk with the dog, can have a protecting effect on the brain.
More than 9,000 individuals took part in a 40-year study from age of 11. Researchers quizzed them on levels of exercise at regular age intervals, and participants also undertook tests of memory, attention and learning.
The study found participants who exercised weekly throughout their life performed better on tests of memory, learning, attention and reasoning at the age of 50, compared to those who exercised two to three times per month or less.
Men who undertook physical activity more than four times a week were found to have lost a third less of their brainpower by the age of 50, compared to their peers who did no exercise, while women benefit from a 25 per cent reduction.
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