Women who are physically active at any point increase their defense against cognitive impairment later in life. But a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, showed that physical activity as a teenager drastically reduces the chances of cognitive impairment later down the road, and it is also associated with better overall health.
The research, heading by Laura Middleton, observed physical activity in the teenage, 30’s, and 50’s, of 9,344 women from Maryland, Oregon, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. “When physical activity measures for all four ages were entered into a single model and adjusted for variables such as age, education, marital status, diabetes, hypertension, depressive symptoms, smoking, and BMI, only teenage physical activity status remained significantly associated with cognitive performance in old age,” the study reported.
The study yields hopeful results for those women who skipped exercise in their teenage years. Women who were inactive physically during their teenage years, but then became physically active later on in life showed significantly reduced odds of cognitive impairment relative to those who remained physically inactive. At Grove’s Assisted Living we encourage women of all ages to practice regular exercise in order to remain mentally and physically healthy.
The evidence suggested that physical activity tends to promote brain plasticity and cognition, and it also reduces the frequency and severity of vascular risk factors, like hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. All of these diseases are not only unpleasant, but they tend to lead to cognitive impairment later on down the road.
Although we have no time machine at Grove’s Assisted Living to transport our female patients back to their teenage years, we encourage families to educate their daughters about the positive effects of regular exercise. We also invite families to challenge themselves to live a more physically active lifestyle—just as we do for their loved ones.Leave a reply →