(CBS News) — Get moving.
Any exercise, even as little as once a month, can help preserve mental function and memory.
A major study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry showed a link between exercise and lower risks of dementia and cognitive decline. While even a little exercise can help, people who exercised regularly throughout adulthood saw the most benefit.
The study tracked the physical activity patterns of nearly 1,500 people over the course of 30 years in adulthood. At age 69, the participants were tested on their cognitive state, verbal memory and processing speed.
While lifelong physical activity was associated with the best cognitive results later in life, being active at any time to any extent was associated with higher cognition, the study found.
Even people who became active in their 50s or 60s achieved better cognitive scores when they reached 70 years old, said study author Dr. Sarah-Naomi James, a research fellow at MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at University College London. (…)