Tuesday March 26, 2019

Drinking water boosts mental skills in exercising elders

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Water fasting can be harmful Wikimedia commons
Water fasting can be harmful Wikimedia commons

Older people who indulge in physical activity should increase their amount of water intake, to reap the full cognitive benefits of exercise, researchers suggest.

Dehydration has been shown to impair exercise performance and brain function in young people, but less is known about its impact on older populations.

The findings showed that hydration boosts performance on test of executive function that includes the skills needed to plan, focus, remember and multitask following exercise. Exercise has been shown to improve intellectual health, including executive function.

An elderly woman exercising.
Exercising elderly can drink water to boost their mind.

“Middle-age and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise,” said researchers including Brandon Yates, of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, US.

The study, presented at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2018 in San Diego, explored the association between hydration status before exercising and exercise-enhanced cognition in older adults.  The team recruited recreational cyclists (average age 55) who participated in a large cycling event on a warm day (78-86 degrees F).

Also Read: Knee pain can trigger depression in elderly

The cyclists performed a “trail-making” executive function test–quickly and accurately connecting numbered dots using paper and pencil — before and after the event.

The team tested the volunteers’ urine before they exercised and divided them into two groups — normal hydration and dehydrated — based on their hydration status.

Drinking water boosts mental skills in exercising elderly.
Drinking water boosts mental skills in exercising elderly. Pixabay

The normal hydration group showed noticeable improvement in the completion time of the trail-making test after cycling when compared to their pre-cycling test. The dehydration group also completed their post-cycling test more quickly, but the time reduction was not significant.

“This suggests that older adults should adopt adequate drinking behaviours to reduce cognitive fatigue and potentially enhance the cognitive benefits of regular exercise participation,” the researchers said. IANS

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Having a Handful of Nuts Everyday Can Boost Memory in Elderly, Says Study

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people living with dementia globally is at 47 million

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Representational image. Pixabay

While age is known as the strongest risk factor for cognitive decline, eating a handful of nuts every day can improve mental health and memory skills by up to 60 per cent, finds a study.

The findings showed that consuming nuts for a long period of time could be the key to better cognitive health, including improved thinking, reasoning and memory in older people.

“By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60 per cent — compared to those not eating nuts — effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline,” said lead researcher Ming Li from the University of South Australia.

The reason could be because peanuts have specific anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that help reduce cognitive decline including dementia.

Nuts are also known to be high in healthy fats, protein and fibre with nutritional properties that can lower cholesterol and improve cognitive health.

The study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, included 4,822 Chinese adults aged 55 and above.

Almonds and other nuts can improve survival of patients suffering from colon cancer as well.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people living with dementia globally is at 47 million.

By 2030, this is projected to rise to 75 million and by 2050, global dementia cases are estimated to almost triple.

“Population ageing is one of the most substantial challenges of the twenty first century,” Li said.

“Not only are people living longer…they naturally experience changes to conceptual reasoning, memory, and processing speed.

Also Read- Excess Male Hormones in Women May up Blindness Risk: Study

“While there is no cure for age-related cognition decline and neurogenerative disease, variations in what people eat are delivering improvements for older people.

“If we can find ways to help older people retain their cognitive health and independence for longer – even by modifying their diet – then this is absolutely worth the effort,” Li suggested. (IANS)