What's good for the heart is also good for the brain. A new study finds cardiovascular exercise boosts your brain power, particularly if you're middle aged or older.
The study compared the mental sharpness of two groups of couch potatoes after half started stretching and toning, while the other half started walking three times a week for six months.
The walking group scored 11% better overall compared to the stretchers. In fact, MRI tests revealed the walkers also showed brain activity similar to a younger person.
The stretchers, while they might have felt more limber, they showed no mental improvement after stretching for six months.
Researchers say exercise appears to restore some of the lost functionality of the brain. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is published in the online edition of the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging and the Institute for the Study of Aging.