Harvard Health Letter

Physical vs. mental activity

Physical activity and mental stimulation are both considered vital for protecting your mental skills and warding off dementia. Many studies have shown consistently that regular exercise can increase the volume of brain regions important for memory and thinking. There is also abundant evidence that mental activity maintains cognitive health. A modest amount of aerobic exercise is sufficient to produce positive cognitive results. Many studies have employed regimens of moderate-intensity walking three days a week. For mental activity, doctors recommend activities that require active engagement, such as reading or crossword puzzles, not passive engagement, such as watching television.
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