It’s Never Too Early

Exercise


Young people hit the gym to get 6-pack abs and burn off some stress. They might sweat off some calories in hot yoga or get some bicep definition in a kickboxing class. Most young people don’t work out to prevent cognitive decline, but it turns out fitness at a young age can do just that.

A recent study took a look at how cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure and being overweight might lead to cognitive decline. It found that 36-year-olds with healthy vascular health had lowered risk for dementia as they aged. This benefit was stronger with vascular health at a younger age and didn’t keep the same benefits as a person aged.

What does this mean? Young people may think they don’t have to worry about dementia until they age, but the truth is that maintaining cardiovascular health at all ages is important. Maintaining cardiovascular fitness through diet and exercise can increase blood flow to the brain and lead to healthier white matter in the brain.

If you weren’t a gym junkie before you hit 40, don’t worry. There’s never a better day to start a new habit than today. Cardiovascular health at any age is brain-boosting.

Hit the gym, sidewalk or online workout today to get oxygen and vital nutrients pumping to your brain. Shoot for 30 minutes a day, but take your time to build up to the full 30 minutes if you need it. Five minutes today can turn into 10 minutes tomorrow and so on.

References

  • Phillips, L. A., Chamberland, P.-É., Hekler, E. B., Abrams, J., & Eisenberg, M. H. (2016). Intrinsic rewards predict exercise via behavioral intentions for initiators but via habit strength for maintainers. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 5(4), 352–364. doi:10.1037/spy0000071