(CNN) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended at least two and a half hours of heart-pumping exercise a week, but only about one in five adults and teens get enough exercise to maintain good health.
New research suggests that physical activity can improve brain health as well.
The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, examined more than 2,100 adults between the ages of 21 to 84. Researchers determined cardio fitness may slow down the decrease of the brain’s gray matter, which processes information. Cardio fitness may also be useful in slowing a range of illnesses, from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.
Researchers admit they had several limitations and that further study needs to be down. However, they said older adults who get higher amounts of heart-pumping fitness seem to benefit the most.
Some other ways to support brain health include drinking in moderation, getting plenty of sleep and engaging your brain.