10 minutes of low-intensity activity boosts brain health in older adults: Western study

Researchers at Western University here in London say even a small amount of physical activity can help boost the brain health of older adults. File image

Results from a new study by researchers at Western University shows the brain health of older adults can be enhanced by low-intensity physical activity.

The data shows that those who engage in short bursts of physical activity can experience a boost in brain health even if the activity is carried out at a reasonably low intensity, officials said.

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According to researchers from Western’s School of Kinesiology and Graduate Program in Neuroscience, even as little as 10 minutes of activity helped enhance cognitive function in older adults.

They also found that even people who were previously encouraged not to exercise felt benefits.

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The study included 17 older adults with an average age of 73 who performed aerobic tests at moderate, heavy and very heavy levels of exercise intensity. Participants also completed a pre- and post-exercise task to measure executive function.

The key finding of the study was that the boost in executive function was experienced by subjects at a variety of levels of exercise intensity, researchers said.

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The study also found the post-exercise boost to cognitive function was not limited to those with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.

The study is published in Brain Research.

— With files from Jess Brady. 

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