HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – We know physical activity has countless health benefits– including keeping your mind sharp.

A new study published this week by the American Academy of Neurology is showing just how much of an impact exercise can have on an aging brain.

Exercise can slow down the brain’s aging by as much as 10 years, according to researchers with the American Academy of Neurology.

“It’s no surprise that exercise is good for the body, good for the brain,” said Julie Smith with Home Instead Senior Care.

Smith has spent years teaching classes on aging well and brain health.

brain study

“Anytime we look at brain health and aging well, we look at the body, exercise and staying active. We always say keep moving, being active,” said Smith.

Smith says it’s important to find an activity you enjoy and can continue to do for many years.

“Something as simple as playing catch with your dog is helping you with your grip strength because you’re throwing that ball. If they know it’s safe and if it’s fun and they’re going to benefit from it– those are the three things we have to look at if we’re going to promote some sort of activity for seniors,” said Smith.

At Home Instead Senior Care, Smith teaches clients to focus on a sound mind, body and soul for total well-being. For many, exercise can be a social occasion, with research suggesting social interaction is an antidote for isolation and loneliness, factors linked to higher rates of dementia.

“A lot of times we ask seniors what they’re doing to stay active they say walking and socializing and we want to keep encouraging that,” said Smith.

Smith says her clients are testament to the research showing exercise keeps your mind healthy as you age.

“One of our clients that is over 100 — every time I’ve asked her what’s her key to longevity, she says being active and staying outside,” said Smith.