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Concerned about parents losing memory? It’s time to make them try aerobic exercises

Published on:22 May 2020, 11:20am IST
When it comes to our parents, ageing increases our fears of them possibly losing their memory. Research states aerobic exercises can actually help them sustain their memory.
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Convince your parents to do aerobic exercises for better memory. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Is forgetting things something your parents often do? Is it something that worries you?

Well, fret not! The science of exercise has got your back. Research states that aerobic exercises can actually help improve memory in older adults. 

How though? A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that aerobic exercises boost blood flow to two key regions of the brain associated with memory. This blood flow shall help bring back your parent’s memory and cognition skills. 

Alzheimer’s disease
Do you know, women suffer more from Alzheimer’s? Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

What tests did the research put older adults through?
The study involved 30 participants, each of them 60 or older with memory problems. It intricately studied the changes in long-term memory and cerebral blood flow in these 30 participants.

During the research, while one half of them participated in 12 months of aerobic exercise training, the other half only did stretching. The researchers took the exercise group’s brain imaging at the stages of rest in the beginning and after doing aerobic exercise.

How does doing aerobic exercises impact memory?
After analysis, it was found that the exercise group had shown a 47% improvement in some memory scores after one year compared to minimal changes in the stretch group.

Aerobics
Aerobics improves your memory. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“We’ve shown that even when your memory starts to fade, you can still do something about it by adding aerobic exercise to your lifestyle,” Thomas, a researcher, stated.

After close examination of brain imaging, researchers found out how aerobic exercise shall help improve our parent’s memory. The increased blood flow seeped into the anterior cingulate cortex and the hippocampus. These neural regions play important roles in memory function.

How can this research help?
Some earlier studies attempted to research the impact of exercise on cognitive normal adults.  Interestingly, previous research from Thomas indicated that ageing athletes have better blood flow into the cortex than sedentary older adults.

The new research in a longer period shall help study the reasons for individuals having a high risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

early signs of dementia
Is your parent getting forgetful? Then ask then to indulge in low-intensity aerobics. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

A researcher from the University of Texas Southwestern, Binu Thomas stated “ Perhaps we can one day develop a drug or procedure that safely targets blood flow into these brain regions,”

So, ladies, It’s time to search up aerobic exercises during this lockdown and get started with your parents on the journey of strengthening their memory! Although do remember to instruct them to warm-up and stretch to help them avoid injuries.

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