Washington: Running and cardio activities in young adulthood could help preserve memory and thinking skills in middle age, according to a new study.
Middle age was defined as ages 43 to 55.
"Many studies show the benefits to the brain of good heart health," study author David R. Jacobs, Jr, PhD, with the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis said.
"This is one more important study that should remind young adults of the brain health benefits of cardio fitness activities such as running, swimming, biking or cardio fitness classes," he said.
Cardiorespiratory fitness is a measure of how well your body transports oxygen to your muscles, and how well your muscles are able to absorb the oxygen during exercise.
For the study, 2,747 healthy people with an average age of 25 underwent treadmill tests the first year of the study and then again 20 years later. Cognitive tests taken 25 years after the start of the study measured verbal memory, psychomotor speed (the relationship between thinking skills and physical movement) and executive function.
"These findings are likely to help us earlier identify and consequently prevent or treat those at high risk of developing dementia," Jacobs said.
The study is published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.