A group of older “professional couch potatoes,” as one researcher described them, has proven that even moderate exercise — in this case walking at one’s own pace for 40 minutes three times a week — can enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat decline in brain functionand increase performance on cognitive tasks.
All of the participants were sedentary before the study, reporting less than two episodes of physical activity lasting 30 minutes or more in the previous six months. Previous studies have found that aerobic exercise can enhance the function of specific brain structures, said University of Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute Director Art Kramer, who led the study.
According to an article in Frontiers on Aging Neuroscience, even moderate aerobic exercise also improves the coordination of important brain networks. “The higher the connectivity, the better the performance on some of these cognitive tasks, especially the ones we call executive control tasks – things like planning, scheduling, dealing with ambiguity, working memory and multitasking,” Kramer said. So move it already!