Of course, everyone knows that exercise is good for you. However, a recent study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that suggests physical activity is particularly beneficial for young, female minds. When teenagers exercise, they are not only improving their immediate health and well-being, they are setting themselves up for healthy cognition later in life.
The conclusions of the study came from a compilation of data collected about nearly 9,400 women age 65 and older. These women were part of a multicenter osteoporotic fracture study. Each was asked about their level of physical activity during different stages of their life, including teenage years, age 30, 50 and later. Then, their cognitive function was assessed. The findings are fascinating.
The conclusion was that women who had been regularly active during any age in their life had a lower risk for cognitive impairment later in life. The greatest benefit of this was seen in women who were active during their teenage years. Once differences in risk factors like diabetes were taken into account, it was determined that these women who were active as teens had a 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment at the age of 65 and older.
This study clearly shows the connection between body and mind, a connection that is often forgotten. Remember that a large portion of what the brain does is coordinate and control physical movement, so logically, the physical condition of the body affects the brain as well.
Consider that any form of conscious movement, whether it is walking, running, or bicycling, requires coordinated movement, so when you participate in these activities, you are not only strengthening your muscles but keeping your mind in shape as well.
Anything that inspires neural activity, which coordinated movement certainly does, will keep your brain in great working order, which is why physically-active seniors are also cognitively aware.
Even if you are past your teenage years, it is never too late to start an exercise regimen. The women in the study benefitted from their previous physical activity, not matter what age it was at. Now you can add yet another reason to your list of why it is a good idea to remain physically active every day.
Couple your physical activity with a proper diet and supplement intake and your body and mind will feel rejuvenated and refreshed on a daily basis well into your most mature years.