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Exercise ‘Keeps the Mind Sharp’ in Over-50s, Study Finds

A new study confirms that exercise can keep your mind alert and performing well, even as you age into midlife and beyond your 50s. Moderate exercise several times a week is best, BBC.com reports, with thinking and memory skills performing maximally when you exercise your heart and muscles regularly.

If you want to protect your cognitive health as you age, or even improve your memory and brain function, exercise should be at the top of your to-do list, as compelling evidence shows that seniors engaging in medium-to-high intensity exercise can slow brain aging by as much as 10 years.

Strength training — and working your leg muscles in particular — has been shown to have an especially strong impact on brain function and memory. In one study, just 20 minutes of leg strength exercises enhanced long-term memory by about 10 percent.

Strength training is an integral part of a well-rounded exercise program. The intensity of your resistance training can achieve a number of beneficial changes on the molecular, enzymatic, hormonal and chemical level in your body, which will also help slow down (and many cases stop) many of the diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle.

While it's never too late to start exercising, the earlier you begin and the more consistent you are, the greater your long-term rewards. Having an active lifestyle is really an investment in your future well-being, both physically and mentally. I believe that, overall, high-intensity interval training really helps maximize the health benefits of exercise, while simultaneously being the most efficient and therefore requiring the least amount of time.
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