Older Men Need to Exercise … Now! On the Double! By Mrs Vera West
Older men have lot to worry about on the health front, with heart problems, prostate plumbing going on the blink, and the sadness of declining physiques. However, it is still necessary to rage against the dying of the light by exercising, because brain health depends a lot upon it, more so than women:
“Brain function tends to decline with age. The good news is that exercise is found to boost brain health, especially for aging men. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology revealed that older men who exercise regularly saw better improvements in their cognitive function or executive function than older women. Executive function refers to a person’s ability to focus, pay attention, and manage time. Researchers from York University and McGill University in Canada observed men and women with an average age of 67, who reported their daily physical activity level during the study.
They also reported their height, weight, age, sex, and resting heart rate, which the researchers used to measure their cardiorespiratory fitness. Cardiorespiratory fitness measures the amount of oxygen in the body and how well it is delivered to the muscles during exercise. Fitness levels can also affect the brain’s gray matter, which determines cognitive function. In addition, the researchers conducted brain imaging tests to record the participants’ nerve function both within specific brain networks and among all networks.
Although the women exhibited higher local network efficiency and lower global network efficiency, the men saw greater improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness. This suggested that gender makes a difference in the overall effect of exercise on the brain.“Our findings that [cardiorespiratory fitness] is associated with brain function in a sex-dependent manner underscore the importance of considering sex as a factor when studying associations between exercise and brain health in older adulthood,” wrote the researchers.”
So, how much exercise do men need to do to keep themselves from losing their marbles? Only 52 hours over six months, which equates to about 0.28 hours a day, or just 15-16 minutes a day, if my calculations by hand are correct. This does not need to be gut breaking weights, but could better be a brisk walk, getting fresh air and sunlight, both of which have numerous health benefits. It is common-sense really, something past generations of men would be amazed to think our kind was not aware of.
But now we know of no excuse; there is a hard battle ahead, and we need every sharp brain we can find, ageing they may well be.