Exercise key to battling dementia, study finds
Physical activity is vital to keeping joints and muscles moving as we get older, but just how important is it for our brains?
Brisbane-based researchers have found the key to warding off dementia and other brain conditions, and it only takes 10 minutes to complete.
Like many seniors, retiree Martin Harris tries to keep on top of his health.
"Used to go for a swim every now and then because it's low impact," he told 9News.
Now he's learning that keeping active is not only good for his body but his brain as well.
"So brain blood flow steadily decreases with older age and that's linked to risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke and cognitive decline including risk of dementia," University of Queensland researcher Tom Bailey told 9News.
Martin's been part of an important study at the University of Queensland to find what type of physical activity is best for dementia prevention.
It's focused on a type of exercise that involves short bursts of activity for 60 seconds followed by rest - done for as little as 10 minutes.
Participants were monitored on exercise bikes and walking machines.
"In older adults, interestingly we've found actually the interval nature of exercise promotes increase in brain blood flow more than continuous," Mr Bailey said.
While any type of physical activity is good for our health, getting your heart rate up for short bursts can be of extra benefit.
If you're walking for example, some stairs or a small hill can be incorporated into your routine.
Of course, always check with your doctor before starting any new health regime.
"I feel better than when I started," Mr Harris said.
"Mentally a little more positive."
The university is now expanding its exercise study and is looking for new recruits over 60 years old.
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