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Olympics for the rest of us: How ping-pong can help your brain

Date:
July 31, 2012
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
The physical benefits of the Olympic sports are pretty obvious: strength, endurance and agility, to name a few. But did you know they also can help the brain? New research shows that any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and mild cognitive impairment -- and slow those conditions if they start. Aerobic exercise also can boost your mood.

The physical benefits of the Olympic sports are pretty obvious: strength, endurance and agility, to name a few. But did you know they also can help the brain? Mayo Clinic research shows that any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and mild cognitive impairment -- and slow those conditions if they start. Aerobic exercise also can boost your mood.

Running and swimming, two of the Olympic sports most popular with fitness buffs and TV viewers alike, each provide excellent aerobic workouts. Swimming has the added benefit of taking it easy on the joints. Basketball, cycling, football, hockey, handball, race walking and tennis also provide vigorous aerobic exercise.

Here are other Olympic sports that can serve as brain boosters:

*Ping-pong, also known as table tennis

*Badminton

*Taekwondo

*Fencing

*Rowing

*Canoeing

Fast-paced sessions of badminton, ping-pong, taekwondo and fencing all require concentration, hand-eye coordination and precision, but that's not why they can help keep the brain sharp. All also put participants on the move, providing valuable aerobic activity. Rowing and canoeing -- particularly if the water is choppy or the pace is brisk -- also provide great cardiovascular workouts that can benefit the brain.

"We know that 30 minutes of aerobic activity of any kind five times per week is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. So it is important to stay active often and as early as you can," says Rodolfo Savica, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist. "And if the Olympic Games push people to get active, we definitely endorse that."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Olympics for the rest of us: How ping-pong can help your brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731111333.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2012, July 31). Olympics for the rest of us: How ping-pong can help your brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731111333.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Olympics for the rest of us: How ping-pong can help your brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731111333.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

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