Study: Even a little bit of exercise can boost women’s brain speed

15 minutes of brisk walking or bike riding benefits women more than it does men

Study links , exercise and activities , with improved processing speed.A new study suggests that women's mental processing speed may be boosted by exercise like brisk walking or biking for at least 15 minutes a week.One of the key aspects of cognitive aging is a delay in the brain's processing speed. .CNN reports that quicker processing speed helps with problem-solving, focus and the ability to engage with others in conversation.We found that greater physical activity was associated with greater thinking speed reserve in women, but not in men, Judy Pa, professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, via CNN.Both men and women's mental processing speed benefited from cognitive activities such as playing card games and reading. .Taking part in more mental activities was associated with greater thinking speed reserve for both men and women, Judy Pa, professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, via CNN.According to the study, engaging in mental activities, such as playing games or reading, lessened the aging ofthat person's processing speed by an average of 13 years.As we have arguably few-to-no effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease, prevention is crucial. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment, Judy Pa, professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, via CNN.To know that people could potentially improve their cognitive reserve by taking simple steps such as going to classes at the community center, playing bingo with their friends or spending more time walking or gardening is very exciting, Judy Pa, professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, via CNN.The study was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology

Plenty of studies have found exercise can benefit brain health. A study published Wednesday, however, found a boost of exercise — such as 15 minutes of brisk walking or bike riding — benefits women’s mental processing speed more than it does men’s.

“We found that greater physical activity was associated with greater thinking speed reserve in women, but not in men,” Judy Pa, study author and a professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, said in a statement.

Both men and women benefited from playing cards, reading and other cognitive activities, the researchers found.

The study included 758 participants “with unimpaired cognition, mild cognitive impairment, or dementia from the Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Cohort,” the authors wrote.

Each participant had a brain scan and was tested for thinking speed and memory.

“Taking part in more mental activities was associated with greater thinking speed reserve for both men and women,” Pa said.

Only women, however, saw a benefit between cognitive activities and memory reserve, the study found.

“In this study, a twofold increase in physical activity was equivalent to about 2.75 fewer years of processing speed aging in women,” Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic in the Center for Brain Health at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine, told CNN, who first reported the study. “Further, each extra cognitive activity corresponded to 13 fewer years of processing speed aging on average between women and men.”

“Any woman reading this story can feel empowered to take control of their brain health today by staying physically active and cognitively engaged,” Isaacson told CNN.

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.