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3 Reasons to Get Active (No Matter Your Age)

10/25/2016

Though winter tends to slow down our exercise regimes—for kids and adults alike—three new research studies show the importance of staying active, regardless of age or season. 

1. Kids: Up Your Ranking & Stay Healthy

Let’s help our kids redeem their health and fitness levels. In a recent study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, American children ranked 47th out of 50 when researchers compared their fitness levels to those of kids in other countries.

The study involved more than 1.1 million kids from ages 9 to 17 years who took part in a 20-meter shuttle run. Researchers analyzed data from 177 studies worldwide, finding that children from Africa and Europe were the most fit, while South American children were the least. U.S. children finished toward the back of the pack, behind much smaller and poorer countries such as Iceland, Chile and Suriname.

Physical activity is crucial for pediatric health. Make sure your child gets plenty of active time, whether indoors or outdoors, and talk with our physicians if you’re concerned with your child’s current health status.

2. Boost Your Brain Power

Staying both physically and mentally active can help reduce cognitive decline, according to a recent study published in The Journals of Gerontology.

Participants in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921—who completed a mental ability test at age 11—provided details of their activity levels during age ranges of 20 to 35 years, 40 to 55 years and 60 to 75 years. They also took cognitive assessments at the mean ages of 79, 83, 87 and 90 years. 

Findings showed those who reported higher activity levels after age 60 experienced less cognitive decline. Adults, make sure you’re moving to support physical and mental health!

3. Prevent Dementia

Walking outside just three times per week could keep serious health issues like dementia at bay, according to research published by the journal Neurology.

Researchers studied 70 people around age 74 who had a mild form of vascular cognitive impairment (a common cause of dementia). Study participants took tests to measure thinking skills, executive function, memory and competence, then they either walked outside three times per week or underwent their usual care for six months.

At the end of the study, researchers saw a significant improvement in the walking group regarding both memory and blood pressure levels.

Our doctors encourage patients old and young to participate in amounts of physical activity appropriate for them. Learn more about the health benefits of exercise, and whether or not you’re getting enough, by talking with a naturopathic physician at the SCNM Medical Center.