These two activities may not always go together, but according to a study by Mayo Clinic researchers, the combined efforts of exercise and computer use may result in better memory health as you grow older. "We know physical exercise is independently associated with brain function, and mentally stimulating activities are also independently associated with brain function. Combining the two makes sense," says lead researcher Dr. Yonas E. Geda.
In the study, researchers asked more than 900 people from ages 70 to 93 to answer a questionnaire about how frequently they engaged in physically and mentally stimulating activities. For comparison, they then looked at the participants’ cognitive health. Among the mentally stimulating activities, computer use stood out. Researchers also divided reported physical activity into three types: bowling and stretching were categorized under mild, hiking and tennis under moderate, and jogging and biking uphill under vigorous.
Among those who didn’t exercise or use the computer, 20.1 percent had normal memory while 37.6 percent presented signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Meanwhile, among those who engaged in moderate exercise and used the computer, 36 percent were cognitively normal while 18.3 percent showed MCI. Those who exercised five to six times a week reaped the most benefits. Geda says, however, that even exercising once a week can help lower your risk of age-related memory failure.
(Photo by YangChen(TW) via Flickr Creative Commons)