Are Certain Workout Forms Better For Your Brain Health Than Others?

Keeping up with workouts as we age can majorly boost our health in the long run, experts say. According to, older adults who actively engage in regular physical activity may have better balance, increased energy, and lower their chances for heart disease, osteoporosis, or diabetes. But exercise doesn't only benefit the body. Working out regularly later in life may also help boost cognition and mood, according to experts. Generally, people at least 65 years of age should aim to get 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise weekly, or alternatively, 75 minutes of more intensive exercise each week.

The National Institute on Aging says one of the best ways seniors can boost their motivation to exercise is by adding a social component to their workout routine. Lending further evidence to this idea, a recent 2023 study released via the ArchivesĀ of Gerontology and GeriatricsĀ found that older adults who exercised at least twice a week demonstrated a lower risk of cognitive impairment. Even more, seniors who exercised in groups two or more days a week reduced their risk of cognitive impairment even more than those who exercised on their own.

The benefits of exercising with others

As per the study, researchers gathered data from more than 4,350 older adults in Japan with an average age of 77. Self-reported survey data was used to analyze participants' exercise frequency amongst a group or by themselves. A standardized dementia scale was used to evaluate degree of cognitive impairment. Over the course of a 4-year follow-up period, study findings revealed that those who exercised two or more days of the week on their own were roughly 15% less susceptible to cognitive impairment, while those who exercised in the company of others at least two days a week were over 29% less prone to cognitive impairment.

In a press release from the University of Tsukuba, study senior author Professor Tomohiro Okura discussed how including others in one's workout routine could further enhance the existing health benefits of exercise later in life. "A majority of the older adults in our study took part in exercise by themselves, and we can see the cognitive benefits when they do so at least twice a week," Professor Okura stated. "Adding in the social element, however, may make regular exercise all the more preventive. Adopting this habit could be extremely valuable."