A bout of early morning exercise might just be the thing older people need to beat dementia and stroke.
That’s the important finding from researchers at the University of Western Australia and their colleagues at the Baker Institute.
Stroke is one of the nation’s biggest killers, and more than 400,000 Australians are living with dementia.
The research team’s breakthrough could help turn the tables on both conditions.
The researchers examined the benefits of an early morning workout for people aged 55 to 80, comparing how exercise and sedentary behaviour affected brain blood flow in older, overweight adults.
The study showed early risers who exercise improved the flow of blood to their brains for the rest of the day.
Lead researcher and PhD student Michael Wheeler said maintaining healthy blood flow to the brain was a public health priority — given the prevalence of stroke and dementia among Australia’s ageing population.
“There is a danger when blood flow to brain declines,” Wheeler says.
“Brain blood flow is the mechanism that delivers nutrients and energy to the brain so, when you have a decline, you risk exposing the brain to an energy shortage and compromising the energy to the brain.
“Since preventing declines in brain blood flow is important in maintaining brain health as we age, these findings are relevant from a clinical and public health perspective.”
Research to help stop dementia and stroke is only possible if we support our universities. To keep Australia clever, please sign the petition below.