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Want A Healthy Brain When Older? Be Active While Young

child watching tvAre you still in your twenties? Are you a parent or grandparent? Do you wish to maintain a healthy brain — or help your kids/grandkids do the same — well into a ripe old age? Listen up.

While physical decline is expected once we get past a certain age, it is cognitive decline that scares us. And the conditions associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. According to a recent review, the key avoiding age-related intellectual decline later in life is rather simple. It comes down to your lifestyle during youth.

A recent study review led Tina Hoang of the Veterans Affairs Medical Centre in San Francisco and published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that the level of physical activity during our twenties may impact cognitive function during our older years. The study involved 3,247 participants. The research team examined data from a study known as CARDIA, or Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.

The participants, between the age of 18 and 30, joined the study in the late 1980s. They were examined every two to five years to gauge their lifestyle choices including TV watching and exercise. The participants took three tests to measure their cognitive processing speed, executive function and memory.

It was found that compared with people who got moderate to high levels of physical activity, those who consistently watched the most TV and got little exercise were more likely to have poor cognitive performance. Things like gender, age, body mass index (BMI), and education level were factored in.

Though the study does not mention anything about diet (our source does not mention anything about this), this too is extremely important for brain health as your brain needs nourishment as well. One study showed that the Mediterranean Diet may help improve cognitive health. It may also be worthwhile to look into brain boosting supplements.

The study was about the effects of “traditional” TV watching and physical activity. But you may want to add things like web surfing, texting, and “socializing” on Facebook and the like into the mix. Especially in this day and age of smartphones when all the above is in the palm of our hand and can be done from virtually anywhere and at anytime.

The original story can be found here.

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