Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
Do you have trouble remembering if you took your medications?
Or trouble recalling where your keys are?
Or if you paid the electric bill this month?
If any of this sounds familiar, then you could be suffering from vascular cognitive impairment (VCI).
VCI happens when the blood flow to your brain becomes restricted. It’s typically a side effect of other chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
More often than not, VCI can lead to serious memory disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
And at the moment, science has no sure way to cure VCI or undo the damage it can do to your brain.
However, according to new research out of Canada, there is one thing you can do to decrease your risk of VCI attacking your brain health…
Get to Stepping
I know. I know. You’ve already heard you need to be exercising…
But before you stop reading this article, you should know that keeping your mind sharp doesn’t require lots of strenuous effort or hours a day at the gym.
In fact, this study shows it only takes three hours a week to make your mind a bit sharper…
To prove it, scientists took a group of 70 participants with an average age of 74 and split them into two groups. The first group participated in one-hour-long exercise classes three times a week for a six-month period. The second group did not exercise. Instead, they were given monthly health and diet information as it pertained to VCI with the exclusion of any exercise-related materials.
Before the start of the study, all participants took a test that assessed their ability to plan and organize daily tasks and their thinking skills. The test was again given at the end of the six-week period.
After the data were collected, the scientists discovered something amazing…
The folks in the exercise group scored an average of two points higher on the memory test than those who did not exercise.
All right, I admit it — two points doesn’t seem like a big deal. But when you consider it was only an 11-point test, it makes these results significant.
And the good news for the exercise group didn’t end there…
It seems the added activity also improved blood pressure and increased heart health. Both of which will may also help to ward off mental decline and/or VCI.
However, this only works if you maintain regular exercise.
You see, six months after the end of the study, all participants —those who exercised and those who didn’t — displayed no improvement in the memory tests. This means you have to keep up the activity to keep a healthy brain!
As demonstrated by the study, this could mean as little as three hours a week.
But before you go signing up for Zumba classes or training for a marathon, remember that simply going for a walk three times a week can keep your mind sharp and your heart healthy.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily