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This simple tip can help older adults to gain more from exercise fitness



Age is just a number, and you can take steps to make sure it does not. Exercising offers older adults a range of benefits, including reduced weakness, blood pressure control and a sharper brain. Simply supplementing your fitness routine can ensure that you get even more benefits. A new study, conducted by a team of New England researchers, shows that drinking more water can help harness the full cognitive benefits of sports.

The study examined the relationship between pre-workout hydration and exercise-enhanced perception in older adults. One of the main concerns is that older people often do not realize that they are thirsty. "Middle and older adults often show a dulled thirst, exposing them to a risk of dehydration and subsequently reducing the cognitive health benefits of exercise," the researchers said.

For the study, researchers recruited recreational cyclists (average age 55) attending a major cycling event on a warm day (78-86 degrees F). The cyclists performed a "trail-making" executive function test ̵

1; quickly and accurately connecting numbered points with paper and pencil – before and after the event. Executive function includes the skills needed to plan, focus, remember and multi-task. It has been shown that physical activity improves mental health, including executive function.

The normal hydration group showed a marked improvement in completion time compared to its pre-cycle test. The dehydration group also completed its post-cycle test faster but the time reduction was not significant. "Older adults should use appropriate drinking habits to reduce cognitive fatigue and possibly increase the cognitive benefits of regular exercise," the researchers said.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS) at the Experimental Biology 2018 San Diego.

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