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‘Moderately Vigorous’ Exercise Midlife May Improve Brain Function Later in Life

Everyone knows that working out is good for your body, but research is also finding that it may be good for your brain as well. A recent study comparing lifestyle of twins suggests that moderately vigorous physical activity performed during midlife may have a stronger effect on cognition later in life than exercise equivalent to walking.


Participants in the study included 3,050 twins who were part of the Finnish Twin Cohort. The researchers first compared cognition and levels of physical activity across the entire study group and then looked specifically at twins where one twin was more physically active than the other.


After examining the data, the researchers found that moderately vigorous physical activity in midlife was associaed with better cognition later in life. The association held true even when other lifestyle factors — such as smoking, midlife hypertension, education level, obesity, sex, and binge drinking — were taken into account.


Researchers from the University of Helsinki conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 2, 2016, in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.


Regular exercise is important for maintaining good health as you age. Previous clinical studies suggest that even moderate exercise can reduce your risk of dying prematurely, help with blood sugar control, reduce body weight, improve heart health and improve respiratory health.

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