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Daily exercise boosts brain function in older and middle-aged consumers, study finds

Physical activity may have a direct impact on cognitive function

Exercise and fitness tracker concept
Photo (c) Oscar Wong - Getty Images
Exercise has been found to benefit consumers’ well-being as they age, and a new study conducted by researchers from the University of California at San Diego explored the brain benefits of regular exercise. According to their findings, exercising daily was associated with a boost in brain function for middle-aged and older consumers. 

“It was a very linear relationship,” said researcher Raeanne Moore, Ph.D. “We hypothesized that we would find this, but we couldn’t be sure because we weren’t telling people to increase their physical activity. They just did what they do every day.” 

Staying active has brain benefits

The researchers had 90 middle-aged adults participate in the two-week study. The group wore accelerometers to track their physical activity over the course of the study, and they also completed ecological momentary cognitive tests (EMCTs) twice daily on a smartphone app to assess their brain function. 

The researchers learned that there was a clear link between physical activity and improved brain function. The participants performed far better on the cognitive assessments on days that they exercised when compared to days when they didn't exercise. These results held up for the participants regardless of other health complications, age, or ethnicity.  

Moving forward, the researchers plan to see how these findings hold up long-term.  

“We don’t know yet if there’s a cumulative, long-term effect to these small daily fluctuations in cognition,” said researcher Zvinka Zlatar, Ph.D. “That’s something we plan to study next – to see if performing physical activity at different intensities over time, in unsupervised settings, can produce long-term improvements in brain health and sustained behavior change.” 

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