While we usually associate exercise with improving our physical health, it’s also a critical tool for our mental health and memory. Older adults who exercise more frequently often experience improved retention of their memory as they age. This is one of the many reasons we encourage anyone to add more exercise into their routine to help avoid these common concerns as you grow older.

How Much Exercise Do You Need to Improve Memory?

Exercise is one of the key tools for adults to improve memory as we age. All of us know we need to keep active and mobile, but the amount of exercise we should get is a common concern. In general, it’s recommended that adults fit in at least three sessions of exercise a week. After about four months, you’ll notice an improvement in your episodic memory if you manage to stick to this timetable. 

Episodic memory is the type of memory that’s associated with events that previously happened in your life. This is the first type of memory we lose as we age. The reason that exercise helps to increase brain health is that it increases molecular targets such as brain-derived neurotrophic factors. This helps to form new synapses, which mediate memory and learning. It makes it easier for us to absorb information and create long-term memories as well as remember events from the past.

As well as working in this way, exercise helps to improve your mood and sleep. By reducing the levels of stress and anxiety you may be feeling, you’ll find that your memory also improves. Issues with stress can contribute to cognitive impairment, which is something we all need to avoid as we age. Just a few short sessions of exercise each week can completely transform someone’s outlook on life and help to keep their brain healthy.

Start Exercising Now for Best Results

It’s never too late to start adding more exercise into your daily routine, but the sooner you get started, the more likely you’ll see great results. Research suggested that there were greater results with the 55 to 68-year-old age group as opposed to those in the 69 to 85-year-old group. The impact was also greater with participants who hadn’t experienced any memory issues or cognitive decline, as opposed to those who were already noticing issues with their memory. The sooner you start adding more movement into your weekly routine, the more likely you’ll continue to remember past times in your life which have brought you so much joy. 

Almost any type of exercise could help to benefit you as you age and will offer you a wide range of both physical and mental health benefits. Our memory is such an integral part of our lives and wellbeing, which is why adding a few 30-minute sessions of exercise each week is so worthwhile. In no time at all, you’ll start to notice the benefits that moving more brings to your life, helping you to live a healthier and happier life as you grow older.