Exercising with others may benefit older brains more

Credit: Geert Pieters/ Unsplash.

Exercise is beneficial in obvious ways like getting a leaner and stronger body, yet its benefits can also improve the brain, including in older adults.

Socializing can also have cognitive benefits.

In a study from the University of Tsukuba, scientists found cognitive benefits of regular exercise among older people. They also found even greater benefits when exercise is done with others.

The global number of dementia patients is expected to surpass 150 million by 2050.

As a result, interest is rising in manageable activities, such as exercise and socializing, which may reduce the risk of age-related cognitive disorders.

In the study, the team collected data on 4,358 older (averaging 76.9 ± 5.6 years) adults in a regional city about 100 km (~62 miles) north of central Tokyo.

This took place in 2017 to obtain baseline data for how frequently these people exercised alone or with others.

The study team also used a local government database to collect follow-up data on the people’s cognitive condition over nearly 4 years.

The researchers analyzed the data to find the relation between cognitive decline, exercise, and exercise with others.

They found that participants who exercised alone twice or more weekly decreased their risk of developing cognitive impairment by 15.1%.

But those who exercised with others twice or more weekly showed a 29.2% decrease.

The team says exercise can provide favorable physical and mental outcomes. It can also reduce chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

Exercising in groups introduces a social element, and socializing has also been found to potentially reduce the development of cognitive disorders.

These findings may inform the development of specialized exercise programs that combine exercise and dementia for the prevention of dementia and other related conditions.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that cranberries could help boost memory, and how alcohol, coffee, and tea intake influence cognitive decline.

The study was conducted by Professor Tomohiro Okura et al and published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics.

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