As we age we have a harder time keeping a clear head and focused on tasks at hand. There could be a number of reasons for that — stress, too many distractions, etc. but this is also a common occurrence as we age. We often seem to take this in stride, just another negative factor in growing older, but it doesn’t have to be. The plain and simple fact is, our ability to memorize and do normal daily functions does not have to be a part of growing old, and it could be as simple as taking a walk!

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers tracked the brain activity of adults aged 58 to 78 for six months using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imagery) scans. Within the first three months cardiovascular exercises were gradually added to their daily routine. A control group did stretching and toning exercises that did not provide exertion. The last three months of the study, the exercisers were to walk briskly for a minimum of 5 minutes 3 times a week, while the control group did no additional exercises.

The results were published in the February 17th edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   Those who participated in the exercise program improved 11% on computer tasks testing cognitive skills, while those who did not do any cardiovascular workouts improved only 2%.

The researchers concluded from this test that the circuits in our brain that have to do with cognitive reasoning or memorizing can be changed for the better through improved physical exercise. “The kinds of tasks that we explored are similar to those encountered in real world situations, such as driving a vehicle or any endeavor that requires a person to pay attention despite distractions,” lead researcher and psychology professor Arthur F. Kramer stated.

Other research conducted in the last decade also has concluded that the more you exercise the more blood pumps through your body and to your brain. The more blood to your brain the more oxygen your brain receives. So, if you want to jog your memory, improve your memory and cognitive skills, and help ward off the negative effects of aging, get your heart pumping — go out and exercise.

This article was shared by two time USA Memory Champion Ron White