Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain and improves memory

October 28, 2020

Research undertaken at UT Southwestern Medical Center mapped brain changes after one year of aerobic workouts and found that exercise boosts blood flow into two key regions of the brain associated with memory.

The evidence also suggested that this blood flow can help older people with existing memory issues to improve cognition, a finding that could guide future Alzheimer’s disease research.

The study documented changes in long-term memory and blood flow to the brain in 30 participants, each of them 60 or older with memory problems. Half of them underwent 12 months of aerobic exercise training; the rest did only stretching.

The exercise group showed a 47% improvement in some memory scores after one year compared with minimal change in the stretch participants. Brain imaging also showed increased blood flow into key regions of the brain important for memory function.

Binu Thomas, a senior research scientist said, “we’ve shown that even when your memory starts to fade, you can still do something about it by adding aerobic exercise to your lifestyle”.

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