Keep Your Brain Younger With One Physical and One Mental Activity

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Gray matter ageing slowed significantly by these two factors.

Staying in school and taking the stairs are two things that can help keep your brain young, new research finds.

The more years of school a person completes, the younger their brain appears.

Brain age decreases almost one year for each additional year of education.

For each flight of stairs climbed daily, brain age decreases by just over half a year.

Dr Jason Steffener, the study’s first author, said:

“There already exist many ‘Take the stairs’ campaigns in office environments and public transportation centres.

This study shows that these campaigns should also be expanded for older adults, so that they can work to keep their brains young.”

The research used brain imaging of 331 adults to reach these conclusions.

They looked at any gray matter loss and their education and exercise levels.

Dr Steffener said:

“This study shows that education and physical activity affect the difference between a physiological prediction of age and chronological age, and that people can actively do something to help their brains stay young.

In comparison to many other forms of physical activity, taking the stairs is something most older adults can and already do at least once a day, unlike vigorous forms of physical activity.

This is encouraging because it demonstrates that a simple thing like climbing stairs has great potential as an intervention tool to promote brain health.”

The study was published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging (Steffener et al., 2016).

Shiny brain image from Shutterstock

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Published: 15 March 2016

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