According to a new evidence-based consensus statement issued today by the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) collated by Age UK, getting regular exercise can lower the risk of cognitive decline and can even change our brain structure and improve its functioning.

What activities are good to keep your brain healthy?

To keep your brain healthy, the GCBH’s experts advise you should lead a physically-active lifestyle, including daily activities such as walking, using the stairs, or gardening.

In addition to this, you should carry out 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity that raises the heart rate (for example, brisk walking, swimming, or cycling), and two or more days of moderate-intensity, muscle-strengthening activities (such as lifting weights or squats) on a weekly basis.

And for those people who are not currently physically active, the GCBH offers these practical tips:

  • Slowly increase your level of activity challenging yourself more over time.
  • Try new physical activities and exercises that you think you will enjoy.
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator whenever possible.
  • Do a range of exercises, including strength training, aerobics, and those that improve flexibility and balance.
  • Consider doing physical activities and exercise with other people to help stay motivated.
  • Be patient and persistent.

It’s never too late to realise the benefits of exercise

Commenting on the findings, Sarah Lock, AARP Senior Vice President for Policy, and GCBH Executive Director said, ‘We know that the desire to stay mentally sharp is the number one concern for older adults. The GCBH report shows us that staying physically active throughout the day and getting weekly exercise can help our brain health as we age.’

Group Chief Executive of Age UK, Tom Wright, said: ‘Cognitive decline as you age is often seen as an inevitable part of getting older, yet people who lead active lifestyles and exercise have the power to protect their brain against ageing and even boost our memory and thinking skills.’

‘The good news that it is never too late to become more physically active and realise the benefits of exercise whatever your age or current health status. There are so many health benefits to be had simply by making the decision to move your body more throughout the day as well as setting time aside for more purposeful exercise that gets your heart rate up.’

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SMILE logoHCPA’s SMILE offer exercise classes to everyone in Hertfordshire, including those who may not find it very easy to be active in care and residential settings.

Research shows that it is never too late to adopt and reap the health benefits of engaging in a more active lifestyle. Our exercise programmes can be delivered to individuals or to a group of people and are tailored to the needs of the group. A range of sessions can be delivered including chair based or standing aerobic exercise.


SMILE offer exciting and engaging chair based exercise

Exercises are designed to support individuals to be as independent as possible by strengthening muscles to allow them to continue to undertake activities for daily living.

These classes can be tailored for people living with dementia or cognitive impairment.


These exercises can greatly improve muscle strength and aid in their daily activities

The course is one of many projects from SMILE funded by HAFLS for up to 10 service users at one hour per week for 20 weeks.

To book onto this class or for further information about other sessions SMILE are able to offer, please call 01707 536020 or email!