Just one hour of exercise a week slows down brain aging.

According to scientists from Boston University, regular exercise can not only improve physical fitness, but also have a significant impact on cognitive health, slowing down brain aging and reducing the risk of dementia.

The study showed that people who regularly take time for physical activity — even as easy as regular walking — are less susceptible to the onset of dementia. The results are good news for people who are trying to stay in good physical shape, but at the same time do not pursue high sports achievements.

Experts say that exercising less than the recommended 150 minutes a week will still be enough to get tangible benefits. Scientists have found that even 1 hour of physical activity per week will have a positive effect on brain health, while each additional hour of study will make the brain about a year younger. Thus, a person who takes physical activity about three hours a week, over time, may have cognitive functions corresponding to a person who is three years younger.

“In fact, we just started to reveal the connection between physical activity and brain health,” said researcher Nicole Spartano. “We found that every extra hour of physical activity, including light, was associated with an increase in brain volume, even among people who do not follow current exercise recommendations.”

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There are various mechanisms by which exercise can support brain health, including improved blood flow and improved sleep. Previous scientific work has shown that people who regularly do aerobic exercises, such as jogging, swimming, and cycling, have a greater amount of certain parts of the brain. First of all, it concerns the hippocampus, which controls learning and emotions, as well as the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex, affecting thinking and memory. Exercise also improves sleep quality and reduces stress, which in turn has a positive effect on mental health and cognitive abilities.

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