Golf: 18 Holes Can Boost Senior Smarts


Golf: 18 Holes Can Boost Senior Smarts

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In a recent study published on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, researchers discovered an interesting connection between physical activity and cognitive function in older adults. The research highlights the benefits of activities like golf, walking, and Nordic walking in maintaining and improving cognitive function among seniors.

The study involved 25 healthy golfers, all aged 65 or older. These individuals engaged in three bouts of intense aerobic exercise: golf, regular walking, and Nordic walking. Throughout the exercise sessions, they maintained their typical brisk pace.

The researchers assessed cognitive function using tests that measured various aspects, including attention, processing speed, and demanding skills such as task-switching ability. They also collected blood samples to measure two chemicals, neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cathepsin B (CTSB), which are believed to reflect the brain benefits of exercise.

While there were notable improvements in lower cognitive functions like attention and processing speed, the study did not find significant effects on BDNF and CTSB levels. However, both types of walking—regular walking and Nordic walking—were associated with enhanced executive functioning, which plays a key role in planning, organizing, and staying focused.

The first author of the study, Julia Kettinen, a doctoral researcher at the University of Eastern Finland, emphasized the value of age-appropriate aerobic exercise, such as golf and various forms of walking, in maintaining and enhancing cognitive function among older adults. This research supports the idea that exercise can be a promising strategy for those facing cognitive decline.

In addition to the University of Eastern Finland, researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom and ETH Zürich in Switzerland also contributed to this study. The findings were published in the October issue of BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine.

This study sheds light on the cognitive benefits of physical activity, emphasizing that activities like golf, walking, and Nordic walking can contribute to improved cognitive function among seniors. This valuable insight can help seniors make informed choices about their exercise routines to promote mental acuity as they age.


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