Aerobic and resistance exercise together is the best combination for boosting brain power, new research finds.
The results come from a review of 39 studies of people over 50-years-old doing all different types of exercise and activities, including:
- aerobic and resistance training,
- tai chi,
- and yoga.
The results showed that all types of exercise improved the brain power of those over 50.
Aerobic exercise boosts cognitive abilities, while resistance training was particularly good at boosting memory and executive function.
Tai chi was also found to be beneficial for cognitive function, although this was only based on a few studies.
The results are strong enough that doctors should be encouraged to prescribe aerobic and resistance exercise for the over-50s.
The study’s authors conclude:
“The findings suggest that an exercise programme with components of both aerobic and resistance type training, of at least moderate intensity and at least 45 minutes per session, on as many days of the week as possible, is beneficial to cognitive function in adults aged over 50.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Hsu et al., 2017).