For years, science has proved that physical activities and exercise have immeasurable benefits for one’s health.
And now a new study published by Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology suggests that exercise can also benefit your mental health.
The study found that exercise stimulates brain activity and reduces mental ageing by about 10 years among senior citizens.
According to a report, the research tapped 900 adults with the average age of 71 to fill out a survey which determined how often and how long they had engaged in physical activity in the previous two weeks at the time of the poll.
Each of the participants underwent memory and thinking evaluations as well as an MRI. They were then asked to undergo the same test again five years later to compare the data.
“We found that people who exercise moderately or heavily had a reduced risk of memory loss and what we call executive function, equivalent to about 10 years,” said Dr. Mitchell Elkind, professor of neurology and epidemiology at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University.
“Calisthenics several times a week, playing handball or tennis, even moderate amounts of activity can be a benefit,” Elkind, who co-authored the study, added.
Aside from reducing mental aging among senior citizens, exercise has been found to be beneficial for people of all ages.
According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, exercise helps people maintain healthy weight because physical activities burn calories. Exercise also prevents illnesses like stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, and arthritis.
Physical activities also help stimulate brain chemicals and induce good mood. It boosts energy as exercise delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the tissues to help the cardiovascular system to work better.
The Mayo Clinic asserts that exercise also promotes better sleep and even a better sex life.
“Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day,” it concluded, with a caveat for those who have not engaged in physical activities for a long time or for those suffering from health conditions to seek the guidance of their physicians first.