According to a study, you can increase blood flow to the brain with more exercise. Learn about the effects of working out and your health.
In a study available in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers found a connection between your brain and exercise. Their study shows that older adults with mild memory loss may increase circulation to their brain by working out.
“This is part of a growing body of evidence linking exercise with brain health,” says Rong Zhang, Ph.D., study leader and professor of neurology at UTSW. “We’ve shown for the first time in a randomized trial in these older adults that exercise gets more blood flowing to your brain.”
Exercise and Brain Function
About one-fifth of people age 65 and older experience some type of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Moreover, MCI progresses into dementia in many of these cases, which can result in Alzheimer’s disease.
Previous studies show how there’s an association between poor blood flow to the brain and MCI and dementia. Still, researchers have not established a direct link between brain blood flow, stiff blood vessels, and exercise.
“There is still a lot we don’t know about the effects of exercise on cognitive decline later in life,” says co-senior author C. Munro Cullum, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at UTSW. “MCI and dementia are likely to be influenced by a complex interplay of many factors, and we think that, at least for some people, exercise is one of those factors.”
Zhang, Cullum, and their research team followed 70 men and women between the ages of 55 to 80. These participants, who all had MCI, underwent various cognitive and fitness exams as well as MRI scans.
Afterward, they were randomly divided into two programs: a moderate aerobic exercise program or a stretching program. Researchers found that the aerobic exercise group increased their overall circulation to the brain while the stretching group did not.
Researchers found no significant changes in cognitive function, but this may be due to the small size of the trial. However, they’re currently carrying out a longer, two-year study to further explore the connection between exercise and cognitive issues.
“There are likely some people who benefit more from exercise than others,” says Cullum. “But with the sample size in this study, it was hard to analyze subgroups of people to make those conclusions.”
While more research is necessary, the data shows the impact exercise has on brain health. “We now know, based on a randomized, controlled trial, that exercise can increase blood flow to the brain, which is a good thing,” says Zhang.
If you’re looking for additional ways to boost your circulation, you can take supplements like HeartBeet Complete. Its ingredients are effective at promoting circulation, blood pressure health, energy levels, and more. Give your blood flow the support it needs and exercise more while also taking HeartBeet Complete.