(HealthDay News) – Even shorter term regular aerobic exercise can increase resting cerebral blood flow, and improve memory and cardiovascular health in older sedentary adults, according to a study published online Nov. 12 in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Sandra B. Chapman, PhD, from the University of Texas at Dallas, and colleagues randomly assigned 37 sedentary, cognitively healthy adults (aged 57–75 years old) to physical training or a wait-list control group. The physical training group performed aerobic exercise for three one-hour sessions per week for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that the physical training group had higher resting cerebral blood flow in the anterior cingulate region from baseline through post-training. The exercise group also had improved immediate and delayed memory performance from baseline through post-training, which correlated with increased cerebral blood flow to the left and right hippocampus observed during training. There were also improvements in the maximal oxygen uptake and rating of perceived exertion in the training group compared with the control group.

“These data suggest that even shorter term aerobic exercise can facilitate neuroplasticity to reduce both the biological and cognitive consequences of aging to benefit brain health in sedentary adults,” Chapman and colleagues conclude.

One author is an employee of Advance MRI.

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