The Baton Rouge Clinic in Prairieville is now open! To learn more and schedule an appointment, click here.

Spread the love

Even small amounts of exercise may increase the size of your brain.

Exercise is good for every part of your body. When you exercise, your muscles and bones get stronger. Your heart pumps more efficiently. And you lower your risk for many health issues. Most health experts recommend that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week for better health. But it turns out that even if you exercise for far less time, you may still be doing wonders for your brain.

recent study found that even as little as 25 minutes of exercise a week may be good for your brain. The research, based on scans of the brains of more than 10,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 97, found that those who exercised moderately for at least 25 minutes weekly had bigger brains, no matter what their age, than those who exercised for less time or not at all. This is good news because when it comes to your brain, bigger is better.

A larger brain usually equates to a healthier brain – and the biggest size differences seen in the study affected areas of the brain responsible for thinking and memory. This is a part of the brain that often shrinks as we age, which increases the risk of experiencing memory loss, cognitive decline and dementia.

Although the study didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between exercise and brain size or the incidence of cognitive decline, the findings are encouraging. They suggest that even by doing a small amount of exercise, you may be more likely to preserve memory, thinking and cognitive abilities as you get older.

The connection between exercise and better brain health is not a new finding. But what this study shows is that you may not need to get a lot of exercise to see a benefit. Many people find it hard, especially as they get older, to get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly. But getting just 25 minutes of exercise over a week is very doable for almost everyone.

What can you do to get more exercise for improved brain health? Here are some ways to get it done:

  • Take a brisk walk after dinner
  • Swim a few laps in your community pool
  • Go on a bike ride around the neighborhood
  • Turn on some music and dance
  • Join a water aerobics class
  • Grab a racquet and learn to play pickleball
  • Play a game of doubles tennis
  • Shoot some hoops
  • Do some gardening
  • Cut your lawn with a push mower

Although there’s no guarantee that exercising will protect you from cognitive decline, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll increase your odds of having a healthier brain even by getting in a little bit of physical activity each week. If you need more motivation to exercise, you’ll be happy to know that being active has been shown to improve almost every aspect of your physical and mental health to some extent. So you have nothing to lose by moving your body more!

Copyright 2024 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc.  Health eCooks® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: April 18, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

Learn more about Baldwin Publishing Inc. editorial policyprivacy policyADA compliance and sponsorship policy.

No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.