In this post I will discuss theme 2; Brain health and cognitive function and theme 4: Sociological perspectives.
Theme 2: brain health and cognitive function
We all know that exercise is good for the brain. Here is what the researchers said about brain health and cognitive function:
- Physical activity has proven benefits for cognitive and brain health in older adults.
- Studies have shown “that age-associated cognitive decline and neuro-degeneration may be slowed or delayed in physically active adults”.
- "Acute, moderate-intensity physical activity for older adults (eg, of 10 min duration) results in short-term benefits for cognitive performance and functional brain responses".
- "There is growing evidence for improvements in brain structure and function, and cognitive, perceptual and motor skills with older adults that typically involve around 3 hours of training/physical activity per week over periods ranging from a few months to a year".
The second theme I wanted to discuss with sociological perspectives. I find people know that they should exercise or move more, but often struggle finding something they like doing or don’t have the right support around them. Here are some of the key findings from the consensus on this topic:
- This theme showed that “social and structural inequalities influence levels of participation in the practices of being physically active among older adults”.
- Interestingly, “lifelong subjective experiences of physical activity shape older adults’ understandings and practices of physical activity”, and the key point for me, “when physical activity is meaningful to them, older adults are more likely to continue participation”.
- Finally, “older adults can remain or become active where there are supportive physical, social and cultural environmental features”.
The main takeaway from this is that lifelong experiences shape understanding and future practices of physical activity. This means that it is best to start young and teach kids and young adults the importance of physical activity. This is extra important as our lives become increasingly more sedentary.
When it comes to what activity to do, the answer is do whatever is meaningful to you. If you hate the gym, then don’t go. Find something that you enjoy doing and you will likely stick to it and hopefully be able to do it through out your life. I know your body will thank you for it.
For the full consensus findings follow this link: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/53/14/856.full