Booming Forward: Will exercise help older Americans avoid declining brain function?

SALT LAKE CITY --  “Hi everybody, I`m Denise Austin and this is my daughter Katie. We`re going to do a fun cardio routine. Let`s get started."

We’ve long known regular aerobic exercise is good for our bodies in many ways, but what about our brains?

AARP’s website sites a new study published in the journal “Neurology.”

The study shows exercise, when coupled with the blood pressure lowering “Dash Diet,” can significantly improve certain cognitive functions.

“To the extent of making your brain work, you stimulate it to continue to make more connections and therefore stay healthier,” University of Utah Neurologist, Dr. Edward Zamrini said.

The study assessed 160 adults age 55 and older with cognitive impairment, which causes problems with concentration, decision making and memory.

After six months of doing 35 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week, concentration and decision- making skills improved.

“Many studies have shown over and over again, that an active lifestyle, staying as active as possible is very, very important," Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Christian Zabrowski said.

However, when it came to memory function, improvements were far less.

University of Utah Neurologist Norman Foster says, effective methods for improving declining memory skills are few and brain games purporting to help improve memory really don`t do much for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“These all are overly hyped and cannot prevent Alzheimer’s disease," Dr. Foster said.

AARP Wellness Ambassador Denise Austin has designed a six minute cardio workout.

“You can do it!  It`s fun! You can do it indoors anytime."

You can find the workout on AARP’s website along with other helpful tips and articles to help you get started and keep you informed about the latest on maintaining physical and mental well being for years to come.

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