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Combining mental and physical activities to keep your cognitive abilities sharp

Combining mental and physical activities to keep your cognitive abilities sharp

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception to this rule. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be of interest. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

Combining mental and physical activities to keep your cognitive abilities sharp
If you are health-conscious person, as many are, you are already aware that exercising both your body and mind can help keep your memories sharp as you age. A recent study out of the Mayo Clinic reinforced this synergistic mind body connection.

These researchers found that by combining mentally stimulating activities, in this case computer use, and moderate exercise, the participants decreased their odds of incurring memory loss more so than singling out either activity. The definition of moderate physical exercise, for the purposes of the study, is “brisk walking, hiking, aerobics, strength training, golfing without a golf cart, swimming, doubles tennis, yoga, martial arts, using exercise machines, and weightlifting.” They used the computer as an example of mental activity simply because it is a popular means of mental exertion used by this population sample. As an aside, too much sitting at a computer can be a contributing factor to poor health.

In the study, researchers observed and tested 926 Minnesotans aged between 70 and 93. Each of these people completed questionnaires concerning the amount and time of their physical exercise and computer use.

The results indicated that the study participants who did not use a computer or exercise 37.6% showed mild cognitive impairment signs and 20.1% remained cognitively normal. Of those who did both mental and physical exercise, they found that 36% were cognitively normal and only 18.3% were showing signs of cognitive impairment.

Based on the results, it certainly seems reasonable to stimulate your brain with mental activities and exercise to improve your physical health in order to provide a protective barrier for your memory during aging process.