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2 Ways Cardio Workouts May Help Aging Brains Stay Healthy

  • Low-intensity physical activity such as “gentle stretching” may not have the same neuroprotective benefits as moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise (e.g., brisk walking).
  • In older adults, the brain benefits of exercise may be linked to activity that maintains higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).
  • Cardio workouts that require a some “huffing and puffing” may increase cerebral blood flow and reduce carotid arterial stiffness, a new one-year study reports.
  • Increased cerebral blood flow and reduced arterial stiffness keep the brain well-oxygenated and nourished, which may help to offset cognitive decline over time.
gorillaimages/Shutterstock
Source: gorillaimages/Shutterstock

Although there’s some debate about whether or not staying physically active without breaking a sweat can improve cognitive performance duringĀ midlife, a growing body of evidence suggests that, as we age, regular aerobic exercise training (AET) at a moderate-to-vigorous level of intensity keeps healthy amounts of blood pumping through the brain and may help to offset cognitive decline.

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