Folks benefit from physical activity, particularly in their teen years

“Women who are physically active at any point over the life course have lower risk of cognitive impairment in late-life compared to those who are inactive, but teenage physical activity appears to be most important.” Science Daily.

The Journal of American Geriatrics Society recently conducted a study of nine thousand women in an attempt to explore the connection between physically activity and cognitive impairment.  The study focused on four age groups: teenage, age 30, age 50 and late life.

Current research suggests that “people who are physically active in mid- and late life have lower chance of dementia and more minor forms of cognitive impairment in old age,” but there is less understanding of the various effects of physical activity in early life versus physical activity at different ages.  Researchers from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Canada, “compared the physical activity at teenage, age 30, age 50 and late life against cognition of 9,344 women from Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Pennsylvania to investigate the effectiveness of activity at different life stages.” After adjusting for age, education, marital status, diabetes, hypertension, depressive symptoms, smoking and body mass index, the results indicated that “only teenage physical activity status remained significantly associated with cognitive performance in old age.”  Being active at age 30 and age 50, however, was not “significantly associated with rates of cognitive impairment in those women who were already physically active at teenage.”  Thus, it seems that to minimize risk of dementia and other cognitive impairment, physical activity should be encouraged beginning in early life.  However, individuals that were inactive as teens can “reduce their risk of cognitive impairment by becoming active later in life.”Additionally, evidence suggests “physical activity has a positive effect on brain plasticity and cognitive and in addition, physical activity reduces the rate and severity of vascular risk factors, such as hypertension, obesity and type II diabetes, which are each associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment.”  Brainjogging has a positive effect on brain plasticity, and is particularly effective in students that engage in physical activity.  Brainjogging therapists strive to coordinate motor skills and academic information into sessions; students learn and retain more when their cerebellum is active.

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