Exercise Improves Young Brains, Too
Walking, cycling, climbing stairs and other aerobic activities may improve brain function not only in older people, but also in younger folk, according to a Columbia University study published in Neurology. The study recruited 132 people between 20 and 67 years old that didn’t exercise and had below-average fitness levels. Half stretched and toned four times a week for six months and half exercised aerobically on a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. When they were evaluated for their executive function thinking skills—regulating behavior, paying attention and achieving goals—the aerobics group improved twice as much as the stretching group. “The people who exercised were testing as if they were about 10 years younger at age 40 and about 20 years younger at age 60,” says study author Yaakov Stern, Ph.D.