Tuesday November 19, 2019

Exercise May Provide a Boost to Ageing Minds: Study

According to the study, the brain gains were no greater than the improvements from when they had exercised a single time

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yoga, exercise
Yoga is also a good physical exercise. Wikimedia Commons

Exercise seems to endow a wealth of benefits, from the release of happiness-inducing hormones to higher physical fitness and now it may provide a boost to the mind too, a new study suggests.

The researchers have found that a single bout of exercise improves cognitive functions and working memory in some older people.

In experiments that included physical activity, brain scans, and working memory tests, they also found that participants experienced the same cognitive benefits and improved memory from a single exercise session as they did from longer, regular exercise.

“In terms of behavioural change and cognitive benefits from physical activity, you can say, ‘I’m just going to be active today. I’ll get a benefit.’ So, you don’t need to think of it like you’re going to train for a marathon to get some sort of optimal peak of performance. You just could work at it day by day to gain those benefits,” “said Michelle Voss, Assistant Professor at University of Iowa.

For the study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the research team wanted to tease out how a single session of exercise may affect older individuals.

They enrolled 34 adults between 60 and 80 years of age who were healthy but not regularly active. Each participant rode a stationary bike on two separate occasions — with light and then more strenuous resistance when pedalling — for 20 minutes.

Before and after each exercise session, each participant underwent a brain scan and completed a memory test.

Good habits
Exercising regularly can keep your brain healthy. VOA

In the brain scan, the researchers examined bursts of activity in regions known to be involved in the collection and sharing of memories.

After a single exercise session, the researchers found in some individuals increased connectivity between the medial temporal — which surrounds the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus — and the parietal cortex and prefrontal cortex, two regions involved in cognition and memory.

Those same individuals also performed better on the memory tests. Other individuals showed little to no gain.

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The boost in cognition and memory from a single exercise session lasted only a short while for those who showed gains, the researchers found.

Most individuals in the moderate and lighter-intensity groups showed mental benefits, judging by the brain scans and working memory tests given at the beginning and at the end of the three-month exercise period.

According to the study, the brain gains were no greater than the improvements from when they had exercised a single time. (IANS)

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Begin Intermittent Fasting For A Healthy Life

Scientists says that intermittent fasting leads to a longer and healthier life

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People who practice intermittent fasting live longer. Pixabay

Intermittent fasting may sound like another diet fad but researcher have conclusively found that the practice of routinely not eating and drinking for short periods of time resulted in longer life in heart patients.

In the study by Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, researchers found that heart patients who practiced regular intermittent fasting lived longer than patients who don’t.

In addition, they found that patients who practice intermittent fasting are less likely to be diagnosed with heart failure.

“It’s another example of how we’re finding that regularly fasting can lead to better health outcomes and longer lives,” said Benjamin Horne, principal investigator of the study.

While the study does not show that fasting is the causal effect for better survival, these real-world outcomes in a large population do suggest that fasting may be having an effect and urge continued study of the behaviour.

In the study, researchers asked 2,001 Intermountain patients undergoing cardiac catheterization from 2013 to 2015 a series of lifestyle questions, including whether or not they practiced routine intermittent fasting.

Researchers then followed up with those patients 4.5 years later and found that routine fasters had greater survival rate than those who did not.

Fasting affects a person’s levels of hemoglobin, red blood cell count, human growth hormone, and lowers sodium and bicarbonate levels, while also activating ketosis and autophagy – all factors that lead to better heart health and specifically reduce risk of heart failure and coronary heart disease.

Intermittent fasting by heart patients
Heart patients should definitely practice intermittent fasting. Pixabay

“This study suggests that routine fasting at a low frequency over two thirds of the lifespan is activating the same biological mechanisms that fasting diets are proposed to rapidly activate,” said Dr Horne.

Researchers speculate that fasting routinely over a period of years and even decades conditions the body to activate the beneficial mechanisms of fasting after a shorter length of time than usual.

Typically, it takes about 12 hours of fasting for the effects to be activated, but long-term routine fasting may cause that time to be shortened so that each routine faster’s daily evening/overnight fasting period between dinner and breakfast produces a small amount of daily benefit, they noted.

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Fasting is not for everyone. Researchers cautioned that pregnant and lactating women should not fast, as well as young children and frail older adults.

People diagnosed with chronic diseases – especially those who take medications for diabetes, blood pressure, or heart disease – should not fast unless under the close care and supervision of a physician. (IANS)