We all know that we should eat healthy. Doing that is good for maintaining your figure as you get older.

The University of Georgia found that physical activity could help protect cognitive abilities as you age. It doesn't have to be intense exercise to make a difference.

The lead author of the study, a recent graduate of psychology, said that the finding isn't saying that older people need to start running.

Brain function is improved by exercise.

The study followed 51 older adults and tracked their physical activity and fitness. The participants underwent brain scans to assess brain functioning.

They wore a device that measured the intensity of their physical activity, number of steps taken and distance covered. The researchers assessed fitness through a six-minute walking test, during which participants walked as quickly as they could to cover the most distance within the time limit.

We have always been told that exercise is good for you, but I think it can change your brain.

Brain networks get better with physical activity.

The brain is made up of many different networks. The networks are sending information to each other.

The brain is active at different times. When the body is at rest, the network that is active when a person is trying to complete a task flips off. Another network kicks on.

One of the networks should be shut off. If it is not, that is a sign that the brain is malfunctioning.

The networks are the key to being able to perform basic tasks in daily life. These tasks become more difficult as people get older.

The first study to examine how these networks interact with physical activity and fitness to impact how the brain functions was done by this study.

The paper gives us some evidence that people with brain networks that aren't functioning at optimal levels can engage in physical activity.

Take the stairs to get to work. Stand up and walk around a bit more. That is where you get the most bang for your buck, not crazy, high-intensity exercise.

The study was co-authored by four people.

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The materials were provided by the University of Georgia. The original was written by Leigh Beeson. Content can be edited for style and length.