Run When You're 25 For A Sharper Brain When You're 45
|Author: Ese Aghenta|
Date: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
By: Maanvi Singh
If you're in your 20s, you might work out because it's fun, or because it makes you look better. But here's another reason to hit the gym or go for a jog — exercising now may help preserve your memory and cognition later in life.
Researchers figured this out by following 2,700 men and women for 25 years as part of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study.
Teenagers and young adults who did better on treadmill tests tended to do better on memory and problem solving tests in middle age, researchers found. That's even after they accounted for unhealthy things like smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Young people don't always consider how their lifestyle might affect them 25 years down the road, says David Jacobs, a professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health and one of researchers behind the study
We already know that regular exercise helps stave off things like obesity and heart disease. And earlier studies have found that older adults who exercise are more likely to remain mentally sharp. But this study is one of the first to look at how exercise in young adulthood affects cognition.
The researchers don't know why exactly cardiovascular exercise helps preserve brain function. But they suspect it's because a healthy heart is better at pumping blood and oxygen to the brain.
"Things that would be good for the heart are probably going to be good for the brain," Jacobs says.
The effects on memory in this study were fairly small. The least fit participants were able to remember 7 out of 15 words in a memory test, on average, the fittest participants were able to remember 8.
The researchers also had participants read out the names of colors printed in different colored ink to test executive function, and replace a series of numbers with symbols to gauge how well participants could coordinate their thinking with their actions. The fittest participants were on average four seconds quicker to read out the correct colors on the executive function test, and they were able to more accurately substitute symbols for numbers.
Jacobs realizes that doesn't sound impressive. "If a person can remember one more word on a list, so what?" he says. But an even a slightly sharper mind could give people an edge in their careers and ultimately in their quality of life, he says.
The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Neurology.
But what if you're past 50, and you didn't exercise when you were younger? Jacobs says there's no need to freak out. And there's no need to start training for a marathon right away, either.
However, Jacobs says, being active in middle age will likely benefit your brain, no matter how buff you were in college. Study participants who were more fit in middle age than in their 20s had slightly better cognition than participants who weren't active in middle age.
"If you have not done everything exactly right — and that's pretty much everybody — you can make changes later in life," he says.
- All Categories
- Academic Outreach
- Continuing & Professional Development
- Distance Learning
- Summer Sessions
- Winter Term
- Career & Workforce Development
- Lifelong Learning
- Society for Lifelong Learning
- WKU On Demand
- Study Away
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Center for Faculty Development
- Cohort Programs
- Dual Credit
- Event & Training Services
- All Categories
- March 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- April 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- JUNE 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2015 E-Newsletter
- December 2015 ICYMI
- January 2016 ICYMI
- MAY 2016 ICYMI
- February 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS July 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
WKU student Emily Peck of Russell Springs recently was awarded a Study Abroad Grant worth $1,000 from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.
The NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), recently selected WKU graduate student Holly C. Osterman of Bowling Green for the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program-Addictions Counselors.
A team from The Gatton Academy won the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) West Kentucky Regional Science Bowl on February 17 and advanced to the 2017 National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C.
After years of traditional recycling of keys, Access Control at WKU has found an innovative way to reuse the keys. Earlier this semester, the Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences Department melted 300 pounds of keys for students to use in class.
The 2017-2018 Cultural Enhancement Series Committee has announced its season lineup for the academic year beginning this fall.
Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,