Exercising between the ages of 40-50 can help in maintaining proper brain health and expanding life expectancy, revealed a new study.
The study published in the Journal Neurology
examined whether having reduced midlife fitness levels in the early life can affect the brain morphology in the later stages of life.
‘Midlife cardiovascular fitness may be an important step towards ensuring healthy brain aging.’
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine in the United States examined 1,583 people enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study, with an average age of 40 and without dementia or heart disease. The volunteers were subjected to a treadmill test at the start of the study and after two decades, a treadmill test along with MRI brain scans were conducted.
They analyzed cardiovascular (CV) fitness, exercise blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) in the volunteers. In the first test, 89 percent of the participants achieved their target heart rate and had an average estimated exercise capacity of 39 mL/kg/min.
After two decades, the researchers found that each eight mL/kg/min of exercise capacity below the average performance level in the first test was associated with enough reduction in brain volume.
The team also found that people whose blood pressure and heart rate went up at a higher rate during exercise also were more likely to have smaller brain volumes two decades later.
Authors conclude that poor cardiovascular fitness and excessive exercise blood pressure and heart rate were associated with worse brain morphology in later life. They suggested that midlife CV fitness may be an important step towards ensuring healthy brain aging.
Reference: Nicole L. Spartano, Jayandra J. Himali, "Midlife exercise blood pressure, heart rate, and fitness relate to brain volume 2 decades later," Neurology, 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002415.