Keeping your memory crisp well into your old age may be a lot simpler than you think. According to new research, in order to maximise your memory and thinking skills, all you have to do is move - either with daily exercise or even just housework.
The study was published in the January 16, 2019, online issue of Neurology. Researchers measured levels of physical activity for 454 participants who were, on average, two years from death; 191 of them had dementia, while the remaining 263 did not. After their deaths, scientists examined their brain tissue, and discovered that those who moved more somehow protected their brains.
"People who moved more had better thinking and memory skills compared to those who didn't move much at all,” explained study author and neurologist Dr Aron Buchman. "We found movement may essentially provide a reserve to help maintain thinking and memory skills when there are signs of dementia present in the brain." They also found appositive correlation between people who had better motor skills - skills that help with movement and coordination - and better thinking and memory skills.
With their findings, Buchman encourages people to get moving. "Exercise is an inexpensive way to improve health, and our study shows it may have a protective effect on the brain," he continued. However, he does point out that the study does not show any cause and effect, and that it may be possible that as people lose memory and thinking skills, their physical activity is reduced as well. “More studies are needed to determine if moving more is truly beneficial to the brain," he admits.
Moving isn’t the only method of preserving your memory, recommended by science. Here are 5 tricks to sharpen your memory including nutrition, playing memory games and sleeping the right amount.
In case you need any more motivation to get your butt of the couch and moving, exercise - even just walking 30 minutes per day - has been linked to health benefits such as improved mood, increased creativity, weight loss, decreased chance of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes, and can also aid in digestion.