Our brains shrink as we get older. As our brain shrinks, without fitness the risk for cognitive decline and dementia increase. To minimize loss of brain volume, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine conducted a studyLack of Fitness in Midlife Connected to Decreased Brain Volume 20 Years Lateraimed at determining the modifiable factors associated with brain aging.
How’d They Do That?
To study the effects of exercise and on brain health, researchers had participants (aged 31-49) participate in a treadmill test. Then, 20 years later, the same participants were then administered another treadmill fitness test and MRIs of the brain.
Interestingly, researchers found that participants who demonstrated poor fitness levels, including measures of blood pressure and heart rate, during the initial treadmill test were more likely to demonstrate smaller brain volume in the MRI scans administered 20 years later.
What Does This Mean For Me?
This study demonstrates that the choices you make during your life, especially those related to health and fitness, demonstrate to have significant impacts on your cognitive health later in life. While our society tends to associate good health with a healthy weight or a decrease risk of heart disease, we have yet to accept that our lifestyle choices have significant impacts on the health of our brain and cognitive function.