Remember to Exercise: Physical Activity Linked With Sharp Memory in Older Years

Recent research shows there’s a relationship between physical exercise and improved memory as we age.

The Wall Street Journal health blog recently reported on a study, saying that:

Physically fit older men and women show fewer age-related changes in their brains, new research shows, buttressing medical evidence that regular exercise can preserve key parts of the brain involved in attention and memory. By analyzing aerobic fitness and neural differences, researchers at the University of Arizona found a clear relationship between exercise and healthier aging brains.

And, you don’t have to wear yourself out to reap the mental benefits of regular physical activity. WebMD reported on another study in France that found “even taking a brisk, 30-minute walk every day was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment.”

Sometimes, I like to do mental exercises while I’m walking, so I figure I’m getting double benefits with each step. The other day, I started thinking about how much younger I feel now than I did a few years ago when I was having episodes of  severe lower back pain. At that time, I thought my active days were over, but thanks to a regular walking regimen that I still follow, my back pain is rare and minor.

A line from a song I hadn’t heard in awhile crept into my brain: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Remember that one?  It took me a while to recall the name of that Bob Dylan song, but I kept working my brain with each step until it came to me.

I’m not going to tell you the name of the song. I’ll just wait for you to think of it and let me know … when you get back from your walk.

How do you keep mentally fit?

Photo credit: mtarvainen

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  1. “In a soldier’s stance I aimed my hand at the mongrel dogs who teach, fearing not I’d become my enemy in the instant that I preach … ”  Great stuff:  My Back Pages.  In terms of fitness, I lost 15 pounds over the past year as part of an effort to control my blood pressure.  I worked.  And at the same time, my tennis game has improved.  One opponent remarked the other day, “You’re running like a 20 year-old.”

    As Dylan said in another song from the 60s, “(s)he not busy being born is busy dying.”

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