Cardio is good for your brain too, new study shows

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:38 PM ET

Staying fit and doing cardio in your 20s can help your brain work better when you reach middle age, a new study shows.

The study, published in Neurology, looked at how cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with brain function 25 years later.

The U.S. researchers studied 2,747 people aged 18 to 30 and conducted a baseline CRF test -- running on a treadmill as long as possible -- then again 20 years later. After 25 years, the participants' verbal memory, psychomotor speed and executive functions were tested.

Those who ran the longest without becoming exhausted performed better at the tests for memory and thinking 25 years later. Researchers also accounted for lifestyle factors such as smoking and diabetes.

Participants who had the smallest difference between CRF tests after 20 years performed better on the executive function tests, for working memory, reasoning and problem solving.


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