Light activity, like household chores, might help to keep the brain young, researchers have found.
The new finding by Boston University aligns with the UK’s own guidelines on physical activity. These guidelines were reviewed in 2018 and concur that shorter exercise is still beneficial to our health.
This research counters previously held beliefs that a threshold had to be reached before exercise could become effective.
The international team of researchers studied the activity trackers of 2,354 middle-aged US adults along with brain scans of each participant.
Researchers determined that about 0.2 per cent of the brain’s volume is lost every year after the age of 60.
The researchers took sex and age into consideration as well as noting whether or not the participant smoked.
They concluded that for every extra hour of light physical activity per day, as much as 0.22 per cent greater brain volume was detected. Those who took over 10,000 steps a day reported a 0.35 per cent greater brain volume than those who took under 5,000 steps per day.
The results noted that higher levels of moderate and vigorous exercise were linked to higher brain volumes. However, there’s nothing to say that the brain volume improvements weren’t linked to the fact that those people were also doing light physical activity.
The research doesn’t come without its limitations, though. It uses mainly white participants and can only account for one period of time.
People may also argue that it cannot prove cause and effect given that people who have more brain ageing might move less as a result.