Posted on May 01, 2019, 8 a.m.
Moderate exercise in the morning has been revealed to help improve our cognitive performance throughout the rest of the day, according to the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.
Morning exercise combined with brief light intensity walking session meant to break up an 8 hour work day of sitting was found to be associated with short term memory benefits. Distinct differences in cognitive responses to morning exercise versus exercise combined with walking breaks were observed in older adults, suggesting different patterns of physical activity lead to enhancement of distinguishable aspects of cognition.
To examine effects of acute morning exercise on a treadmill both with and without brief 3 minute walking breaks during an 8 hour day to disrupt prolonged sitting over 65 participants between the ages of 55-80 were recruited; various aspects of cognition and concentration including attention, working memory, visual learning, psychomotor function as well as executive functions such as decision making were also assessed.
As published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine when a protein which plays an important role in survival and growth of information transmitting neurons was measured the protein was found to be elevated for 8 hours during both exercise conditions. According to the researchers their study highlights an important need to avoid prolonged uninterrupted periods of sitting in order to maintain and promote optimal cognition throughout the day, and moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walks should be encouraged for daily maintenance of brain health.
Michael Wheeler points out, “With an aging population which is looking to live healthier for longer, these studies are critical to people enjoying a productive and satisfying quality of life. This study highlights how relatively simple changes to your daily routine could have a significant benefit to your cognitive health. It also reveals that one day we may be able to do specific types of exercise to enhance specific cognitive skills such as memory or learning.”
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.