Research shows that the longer one ages well, the more important the role exercise and nutrition play. Now, a supplement called Prevagen is taking its place among the fitness arsenal of the elderly, as it is shown to mitigate mild memory loss related to aging.
The additive has reflected improved cognitive function over a 90-day period in one placebo-controlled clinical study; figured in improvements related to memory in a clinical trial over the same period; and was a central factor in a research report on healthful brain function.
Studies reveal that the hippocampus (center of the brain’s memory and emotion systems) grows as people’s physical well-being improves. Researchers think this is the connection to good cardiovascular fitness and the increase in cognitive function.
They say that any activity that raises the heart rate is good for the body and mind. Exercise, they add, is believed to fuel the creation of neurons in the brain.
The practice of yoga can also teach breathing and movement, with the aim of activating the body’s relaxation response. A 2010 study put volunteers through 56 days of daily yoga exercises. While the subjects cited reduced periods of stress, their test results reflected a decrease of part of the amygdala, a structure implicated in processing anxiety and fear.
Research also shows that keeping the mind active does preserve skills related to thinking. Puzzles and other brain-intensive games could possibly slow the advent of memory loss and mental problems, officials say.
One research study involved up to 10 hourlong brain-training sessions for five to six weeks for more than 2,800 adults age 65 and older. Those who participated in the sessions showed improvement that lasted a duration of at least 72 months. The subjects also improved at tasks such as money management and housework.
Formal brain training also is shown to help in the prevention of brain-related aging and fuels healthful brain function. Brain exercises, one research report found, reflected a delay in the decline of thinking skills. Scientists believe that mental activity strengthened the brain and slowed the onset of symptoms.
Everyday activities that lead to brain health include playing online video games; learning a second language or musical instrument; playing board or card games; working crossword puzzles; taking adult education classes; cooking; gardening; walking with an acquaintance; stretching during commercials; walking the dog; and getting away from the computer every so often.
Exercise is shown to develop the brain in several ways en route to increasing its power and function. The scientific evidence is clear that exercise can at least slow normal brain-related aging.
Exercise doesn’t do everything. That’s why everyone might do well to consider a supplement like Prevagen to provide extra protection. People can’t buy their state of health or mental capacity, but they can take steps to boost their odds of a healthful and productive life.
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