TEN minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise a day in mid-life helps protect the brain 25 years later, research reveals.
Walking briskly, running or cycling for 75 minutes a week was found to be “important for promoting brain health and preserving the actual structure of your brain”.
The study involved more than 1,600 people, with an average age of 53, who had five checks over a quarter of a century.
Researchers, from Columbia University Irving Medical Centre in New York, used scans to measure grey and white brain matter and lesions, or areas of injury or disease.
People who reported no physical activity in midlife had a 47 per cent greater risk of developing brain lesions — small areas of damage.
Higher activity levels were associated with more intact white matter — tissue composed of nerve fibres that connect different brain regions.
Study author Dr Priya Palta added: “Our results show that staying active during midlife may have real brain benefits.
“Exercise with moderate-to-vigorous intensity is important for maintaining thinking skills.
“Physical activity may impact cognition in part through its effects on small vessels in the brain.”
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