Thinking helped by diet, exercise, study finds

Walking and biking are good for your heart, but did you know exercise can help your brain?

Researchers have discovered that walking and cycling three times a week can help increase your thinking skills, CNN reported.

“Our operating model was that by improving cardiovascular risk, you’re also improving neurocognitive functioning. You’re improving brain health at the same time as improving heart health,” James Blumenthal, the study’s lead author, said.

Experts have been touting healthy changes in lifestyle as reducing risk of Alzheimer's disease and cardiovascular dementia, CNN reported. The study, experts said, supports those beliefs.

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The study, which was published in the journal Neurology, followed 160 adults with cardiovascular disease like high blood pressure who also had verified cognitive concerns like making decisions and remembering. The average age was 65 and those already diagnosed with dementia and who could not exercise were excluded.

One group followed a heart-healthy diet only without being encouraged to exercise. A second group exercised but didn't follow the diet. A third group did both. The fourth didn't change diet or exercise habits, CNN reported.

Within six months, the exercise-only group had better brain skills than those who didn’t exercise. The ones who were part of the diet-only group did not see a significant improvement in thinking skills. The group that did both, followed a heart-healthy diet and exercised had the best results of those who increased their thinking skills.

For more on the study, click here.