Activities that maintain cardio fitness – such as running, swimming and cycling – led to better thinking skills and memory 20 years on.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, tested almost 3,000 healthy people with an average age of 25.
They underwent treadmill tests of cardiovascular fitness during the first year of the study and again 20 years later.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “A growing body of evidence suggests exercise may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and much research has shown a link between healthy habits in mid-life and better health in old age.
“This is one more important study that should remind young adults of the brain health benefits of cardio fitness activities such as running, swimming, biking or cardio fitness classes”
Dr David JacobsUniversity of Minnesota, Minneapolis