Almost anyone who is 50 or older is familiar with the occasional struggle to find certain words at the tip of the tongue, otherwise known as having a “senior moment.” A recent study found that healthy seniors, who work out regularly, are less likely to suffer from what is called “transient memory loss,” associated with normal aging and loss of cognitive functioning—as the brain ages.
There’s been a lot of news about the brain benefits of exercise these days. In fact, one of the primary interventions that has been identified for Alzheimer’s prevention, is working out regularly. So, it makes sense that the recent study discovered that exercise may be helpful in transient memory loss. The study was published in Nature.com Scientific Reports.
The study of 28 seniors, who regularly engaged in cardiovascular workouts (aerobic fitness), discovered a link between aerobic exercise and language function. Aerobic exercise is rhythmic activity that uses the large muscle groups (such as the legs and arms) and can be sustained 10 minutes or more. Aerobic exercise helps strengthen the heart and lungs.
What scientists call the “tip-of-the-tongue” phenomenon is a temporary cognitive lapse, which commonly occurs during conversation—when we search for a word we know well, but, can’t seem to recall right away.
The study subjects were given a group of definitions, and then they were asked to name the word being defined by the phrases. Those in the study who were more aerobically fit, ended up having a decreased incidence of tip-of-the-tongue memory lapses, compared to those who were less fit.
Earlier research discovered that aerobic fitness was linked to an increase in oxygenation to the brain. This increased blood flow, in turn, resulted in health benefits to the brain’s structure and function—which is thought to be the reason that exercise was found to also improve transient memory.
The Difference Between Transient Memory Loss & Dementia
It’s important to keep in mind that transient memory loss occurs as part of natural aging and is NOT a symptom of a neurological disease process-such as Alzheimer’s disease. According to Mayo Clinic, “Having increasing difficulty using the right words might be a sign of mild cognitive impairment; using the wrong word, such as substituting one for another that sounds similar, could be a sign of dementia.”
Supplements for Improving Memory
In addition to exercising regularly, there are several key antioxidants found to improve memory and protect the brain, such as resveratrol, and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine. It’s important to note that all of the clinical research studies on dietary supplements involve ONLY the highest level of purity and potency, which is available only when selecting pharmaceutical grade supplements.
Suggested Exercise to Improve Memory
To promote brain health, and improve memory, the experts suggest getting as much moderate-intensity exercise as possible. This includes workout routines such as:
- Spinning (indoor cycling)
- Other types of aerobic workouts
Working out regularly is important for anyone who plans to live past 100 well. For optimal brain health, set a goal for at least 150 minutes each week. The workouts can be separated into 30-minute session, 5 days per week. As always, check with your health provider before starting or changing an exercise program.