Simple Movement Aids Brain Health in Older Adults

It's common knowledge that taking regular exercise offers plentiful benefits for our overall health but now, in the first ever data of its kind, demonstrates a connection between movement in old age and synaptic and cognitive aging.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, reveals the connection between movement in old age and synaptic and cognitive aging. The researchers followed the daily activity and movement of Chicagoans in their eighties who were also participating in annual memory tests. The team then compared the participants’ activity level to the health of their microglia cells (the immune cells in the central nervous system responsible for brain infections and inflammation). What they found was that those who had more active lifestyles had healthier brains overall and were less likely to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease.


Having a more active lifestyle didn’t necessarily mean that these individuals were participating regularly in rigorous exercise. The study confirms that simple movement, like walking, can protect your cognitive health as you age.


“Physical activity relates to better cognitive aging and reduced risk of neurodegenerative disease,” the study states. “These are the first data supporting microglial activation as a physiological pathway by which physical activity relates to brain health in humans.”

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