In a new study, researchers found exercise, even at a light intensity, may help delay aging in the brain.
They found people with incremental physical activity have larger brain volume and a healthier brain.
The research was conducted by a team from Boston University School of Medicine.
Previous research has shown that doing regular physical activity may help prevent cognitive decline and dementia in older people.
This is because active people have lower metabolic and heart disease risk factors, such as high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
These risk factors may harm the brain and accelerate brain aging.
However, what physical activity levels are the best for dementia prevention was not clear.
In the study, the team analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study.
They found that some physical activity is better than none.
Each additional hour spent in light-intensity physical activity was linked to higher brain volumes and about 1.1 years less brain aging.
This is even true in people who do not meet current Physical Activity-Guidelines.
The finding shows that even lower, more achievable level of exercise intensity could benefit brain aging.
The team also suggests that to get the best health benefits, people need to do more than 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous (MV) physical activity every week.
Future work needs to explore the effect of sedentary lifestyles on brain aging in different population groups.
One author of the study is Nicole Spartano, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine.
The study is published in JAMA Network Open.
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