Staying in school is usually associated with the possibility of a brighter future and a better workplace. On a different note, one is usually motivated to take the stairs for a stronger and healthier body. These two doesn’t really sound connected hence creates a very unlikely combo that a new study suggests could improve something you might have not thought of- your brain’s health.
Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to non-invasively examine the brains of 331 healthy adults of ages 19 to 79. They measured the volume of grey matter found in participants’ brains as its deterioration (due to neural shrinkage and neuronal loss) is a very visible part of the chronological aging process. They utilized this to compare the brain volume in relation to the participants’ reported number of flights of stairs climbed and years of schooling completed.
The results are crystal clear: it showed that brain age decreases by 0.95 years for each year of education, and by 0.58 years for every daily flight of stairs climbed. Thus, the more flights of stairs climbed, and the more years of schooling completed, the younger the brain will be.
“This study shows that education and physical activity affect the difference between a physiological prediction of age and chronological age, and that people can actively do something to help their brains stay young,” Jason Steffener, a scientist at Concordia University’s Montreal-based PERFORM Centre, says.
“This is encouraging because it demonstrates that a simple thing like climbing stairs [which even older adults can and already do] has great potential as an intervention tool to promote brain health.”
Now, we can actually ask our grandparents to enrol in school and be our classmate so that we can do our homework together! (Wait, that’s not the point, right?) Also, it would be a very good motivation to climb the stairs and move quite a bit as it doesn’t just improve our physical bodies but our brains as well! Indeed even the small things we do can make a huge difference, and this time, to our most enigmatic organ.