Researchers at Yale University have just released a good paper showing the importance of both physical and mental exercise to maintain good memory (full text of research paper Single Enrichment Variables Reduce Aged-related Memory Decline in Female Mice).
Some quotes from the Science Daily release Exercise And Mental Stimulation Both Boost Mouse Memory Late In Life:
- “The results suggest that as we get old and maybe less able to exercise, cognitive stimulation can help to compensate. If the trend holds, write the authors, “These data may suggest that enrichment initiated at any age can significantly improve memory function. And exercise plus mental challenge in middle age — when many people start to notice subtle memory changes — may offer the strongest, most widespread benefits for memory function.”
- The authors note that exercise was central to memory reinforcement in all age groups. Says lead author Karyn Frick, PhD, “It is important for people of all ages to do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise several times a week. Keeping a healthy and active brain may prevent memory decline in old age, but only a longitudinal study that follows mice over time could confirm this possibility.”
We discussed this topic in more depth in my interview on Building Your Cognitive Reserve with Dr. Yaakov Stern and in the dialogue with Dr. Michael Merzenich that included featuring the pioneering work of Dr. Marian Diamond.
In short, if you want to protect and improve your memory, get ready to exercise both body and brain!