I hope you’re not tired of hearing how good exercise is for you. I mention it from time to time because it could be the difference between life and death for you. So here we go again.
There is a mountain of evidence to show that regular exercise and maintaining a state of fitness is good for health and longevity. That mountain continues to grow, new papers arriving on a weekly basis to reinforce these points: don't be sedentary and don't get fat, or you'll pay the price of greater medical expenses over a shorter, less healthy life.
A few examples are linked below, spanning a range of topics including associations between fitness and age-related structural damage and decline in the brain, exercise and mortality in middle age, and exercise as a therapeutic option for the elderly.
Regular moderate exercise is among the safest of ways to influence health, and it produces an expected benefit to long-term health that is modest in the grand scheme of things But for basically healthy individuals still larger than that provided by any other available methodology aside from the practice of calorie restriction.
You can't exercise your way to living to 100, a target that less than 1% of the population will reach in the environment of today's medical science, and exercise only modestly improves your 20% odds of making it to 90 in the environment of today's medical science.
But exercise is free, available now, reliable, and backed by an enormous weight of evidence, and that makes all the difference as to whether or not to take advantage.
It is true that the future of practical, low-cost rejuvenation therapies will render academic all questions of whether or not we would gain a year in health here or a year there due to a healthier lifestyle.
We'll be gaining decades of healthy life, and losing the marks and damage of age, thanks to therapies that target the causes of degenerative aging and age-related disease.
The big question for those of us who stand today at the cusp of age and opportunity, at the whim of small chances that will spiral out to speed or slow the timeline for future medical development, is whether or not we will live long enough to benefit from rejuvenation treatments. Pure and simple… that difference can simply whether or not you exercise regularly.
That is where the year here and the year there become far more important, especially as the pace of progress in all technologies continues to accelerate.
Cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with white matter integrity in aging
Age-related decline in cerebral macrostructure, such as reductions in gray and white matter volume, is well-documented.
Exercise and dementia
The boundary or transitional state between normal aging and dementia, which is defined in various ways such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or a Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) of 0.5, is recognized as a state of being at high risk of dementia.
Although it is a serious challenge to control the risk of dementia in these people, pharmacological interventions remain unsuccessful. Meanwhile, recent studies have suggested potential benefits of nonpharmacological interventions.
Among a variety of nonpharmacological methodologies, most popular and potentially beneficial interventions to date include cognitive interventions (CI), physical activities (PA) and a group reminiscence approach with reality orientation (GRA).
Previous studies have suggested that exercise may be one of the promising strategies for improving cognitive functions.
Resistance as well as aerobic trainings may positively impact cognitive functioning and result in functional plasticity in healthy older adults. Furthermore, exercise training may have cognitive benefits for seniors with MCI, especially improvements in selective attention and conflict resolution, processing speed and verbal fluency in senior women with amnestic MCI.
Physical Activity Is Linked to Greater Moment-To-Moment Variability in Spontaneous Brain Activity in Older Adults
Higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and physical activity (PA) in old age is associated with greater brain structural and functional integrity, and higher cognitive functioning.
In this study we extend our understanding of the different and overlapping roles of CRF and PA in brain resting state function in healthy but low-active older adults. Depending on brain region and task, greater CRF is associated with either increased or decreased change in blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal, a proxy for neural activity.
In this study, we sought to determine how the level of physical fitness (measured as CRF) and PA (measured via accelerometer) are related to functional brain health measured as SDBOLD.
To this end, we collected resting functional magnetic resonance BOLD data from 100 healthy older participants (60-80 years).
Given that: 1) advancing age is associated with decreasing SDBOLD; and 2) greater CRF, PA, and lower sedentariness are associated with better cognitive and brain health outcomes in older adults, we found that older adults who spend more time daily on light PA (LI-PA; housework, gardening, relaxed walking) and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MV-PA, e.g. jogging, walking stairs, biking) had greater SDBOLD in multiple brain regions, and this relationship was positively associated with white matter microstructure.
“No gain, no brain.”
See https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2015/08/recent-research-on-exercise-and-aging.php for the full article.