Building upon an emerging body of research that supports the mental health and, in particular, cognitive, benefits of exercise, researchers are assessing the lower threshold for these benefits – and getting surprising results for very brief, but moderately intensive, exercise.  These results support the benefits of mental health clinicians routinely asking patients/clients about their activity level, and “prescribing” brief, and doable, “doses” of exercise/activity.

10 minutes of exercise enough to boost brain reports on research that builds on previous research that found significant cognitive benefits for varying lengths and intensities of exercise. Previous research, however, focused on longer durations of exercise. The current study sought to identify the “minimum dose” of exercise that would benefit the brain, and found that just 10 minutes of moderate to intense activity as immediate benefits. The article discusses implications for this finding, including the possibility that people can use a “brain boost” dose of exercise before doing a challenging task (the results are immediate, likely due to stimulating a specific part of the brain, and also may be beneficial for people with activity limitations who can only tolerate brief doses of exercise. Posted 12-22-17 by the Science of the Mind blog.

From, Try Exercise to Improve Memory and Thinking, New Guidelines Urge, reports on a study from the Mayo Clinic, reports on guidelines for neurologists based on research from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.  This research supports the benefits of brief exercise, including reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Just 4, 000 Steps A Day Can Lead To Better Brain Health reports on research that finds that walking this amount can improve cognitive functioning adults 60 years and older, which supports routinely asking patients in this age group about their activity level. This article was posted on 12-20-17 by

MHConcierge’s take:  Among many implications of this body of research, this information supports partnering with PCPs and neurologists to help their patients with behavioral change when they  are having difficulty with “prescribed exercise.” 


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