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  • Cameron Oglesby

What 25 hours a week of moderate exercise does to your brain

It helps bulk up your brain, improves your thinking ability, and delay the risks of cognitive decline and dementia. And that's not just me saying it.

A new study from Washington University in St.Louis does. After scanning the brains of over 10,000 healthy men and women aged 18 to 97, it found that people who walked, cycled, swam, or did some other kind of moderate exercise for 25 minutes a week had bigger brains than those who didn't.

Formal guidelines say that you need 10,000 steps a day or 150 minutes a week, but most people are too busy going about their lives to do that. But how much less would still build healthier brains? How about only 25 minutes a week? "It seemed an achievable amount," said associate professor of radiology and neurology Cyrus Raji, who led the study.

He and his colleagues turned to existing scans of 10.,125 brain scans for adults who'd come to the diagnostic center for diagnostic tests. They had also given information about their medical histories and how ofter and how strenuously they'd exercised during the past two weeks.

After dividing them into two groups – those who'd exercised for at least 25 minutes a week and those who hadn't – they used artificial intelligence to compare scans and exercise habits, looking for differences in brain volume. A pattern emerged: Men and women of any age, who exercised at least 25 minutes a week, showed greater brain volume than those who didn't – grey matter, neurons, white matter, larger frontal, parietal and occipital lobes.

They also found a larger hippocampus, part of the brain essential for memory and thinking, that usually shrinks as we age, reducing reasoning ability and recall.

And, maybe the best news, tey found that the most effective exercise was the gentlest. Subjects who said they exercised moderately – i.e., they could still chat as they worked out –

ended up with bigger brains than those who exercised by running.

Of course, the differences between different people are more than physical. We all have different likes and dislikes, different things we enjoy or hate doing, different diets, different values, different hobbies and interests.


That’s why, when it comes to senior care, a one-size-fits-all package won’t work.


At Senior Insights, we strive to do better than that for our clients. Much better. We recognize that like people of all ages, seniors are individuals, with their own personal needs, wants, outlooks, values, and lifestyles. So we start with a thorough three-part needs assessment which we cover everything – from physical, psychological and mental status to mobility issues and nutritional needs to personal likes and dislikes to legal wishes – with clients, their caregivers and their families. Then, and only then, do we custom-design a holistic, coordinated care plan based on what we’ve learned.


So please contact us to learn more about senior care management that’s custom-measured to your needs.


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