Exercising & Brain Study

July 28, 2021
Exercising & Brain Study

Brain Boost

How your feet can help your head!
A new study demonstrates a few good walks per week might be able to give your brain the boost it needs for preventing memory loss.

The Basics:

  • Who: 247 adults (avg. age 65) participated in a Colorado State University study.
  • Method: Participants randomly assigned to one of four groups. In these groups, they partook in various levels of exercise, dance, and stretching for an hour at a time, 3 times/week for six months.
  • Measurements: Participants' physical health and brain/memory health were measured before and after the study.
“We think these findings are important because the regions we observed are sometimes vulnerable to aging or dementia."

Neuroscientist and lead author of the study Andrea Mendez Colmenares says she learned the "white matter" part of our brain (which impacts memory and ability to perform certain cognitive tasks) evolved and renewed when participants engaged in physical activity. The most pronounced results occurred in the walkers; they performed better on memory tests and showed increased size of brain nerve fibers.

Why It Matters: This study argues consistent walking can help reshape the brain to have better memory function, and that adult brains are more malleable (changeable) than expected – so they can still become healthier/stronger by the choices we make. The takeaway: walking for 40 minutes three times a week can help brain health.

For a more in-depth summary

The Study

by Jenna Lee,