How many steps a day can improve attention and memory
This is especially true of the elderly.
According to the study, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, only 4000 steps a day can improve focus and mental abilities.
This is especially true of people aged 60 years and older. A number of earlier studies have already shown that physical activity is incredibly important for the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly. Cognitive decline occurs when people begin to experience difficulties with processing and remembering information.
The volume and density of brain tissue may serve as objective indicators of the state of mental health. Both of these factors can be measured using various neuroimaging techniques. Previous studies indicate that physical activity is correlated with a higher volume of the hippocampus, a critical area of the brain. The hippocampus is responsible for consolidation of memories when they are of short-term memory transferred to long term as well as for the creation of emotions and spatial orientation.
During the two years of work, scientists examined data of 29 people aged 60 years and older with complaints of loss of memory. The researchers tracked the physical activity of elderly participants using an accelerometer, a device that measures movement and calculates the average number of steps per day.
Study participants were divided into two groups: in one were those who walked more than 4,000 steps per day, while the other group put all other participants of the experiment. Subjects underwent a series of neuropsychological tests and MRI brain scans. It turned out that the people who took more than 4,000 steps each day had a denser hippocampus and more dense fabric areas of the brain around the hippocampus than those who walked less than 4000 steps.
Scientists have found that the density of tissue in these areas is correlated with better cognitive function. More active group of participants also showed significantly better results on tests of attention, speed of information processing, memory, and a set of mental skills that allow people to make plans and achieve goals. Lower physical activity correlates with a less dense structure of the brain and low level cognitive abilities.
“Few studies have sought to understand how physical activity affects the density of brain structures. Density is a more accurate indicator of the state of the brain than the volume. It can help track subtle changes in the brain much earlier than will begin to experience a change in volume, and it can predict mental decline,” – said Siddarth Prabhu (Siddarth hotel grace), the study’s lead author, member of the Institute of neuroscience and human behavior, University of California.
Scientists believe that in the course of the following experiments they will be able to monitor the activity of participants over a longer period to better understand the causes “thinning” of the hippocampus.