Another new study has identified a positive link between cardiorespiratory fitness and overall health in later years. The study, conducted by the U.S National Institute on Aging followed 146 older adults over a decade. Treadmill tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were used to measure fitness levels and changes in the participant’s brain volume. The results from the study suggest that people who have better aerobic fitness in middle age seem to ward off decreases in brain volume later in life. This meant that brain functions, such as memory, were better preserved in those who had a high fitness level in middle age. Lead study author Qu Tian was also quoted to say: “High fitness levels may boost brain health on average 20 years later in adults who have not yet experienced cognitive impairment.” While the study was relatively small, the findings add to an increasing body of evidence that links exercise to higher brain volumes, deterring mental decline in later years. The benefits are undeniable. For those of you who find it hard to incorporate exercise into your busy lifestyles, here are some quick and simple exercises to improve your fitness levels.
- Exercise in quick spurts. Studies have found that people who did just four to six 30-second sprints reaped the same heart-health benefits as those who logged a moderate 40- to 60-minute workout.
- Jump rope. Just three minutes of jumping rope can get your heart racing. If this is done regularly (approximately once a day), it can increase your stamina and fitness.
- Stand up to take phone calls. This can help you burn 10 more calories than you do sitting down. While this may not be a lot, every small contribution can help to increase your fitness.
- Take the long way. Instead of taking escalators or lifts, take the stairs instead.
- Brisk walk. 15-20 minutes of brisk walking a day can help to boost your fitness.
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