Here’s information your residents and employees can use: Moderate-intensity exercise in the morning improves cognitive performance, such as decision-making, in older adults throughout the day compared with prolonged sitting without exercise, according to the results of a study of older Australians.

And morning exercise combined with brief light-intensity walks that break up sitting throughout an eight-hour day can boost short-term memory compared with uninterrupted sitting, the “Brain Breaks” study also found.

“With an aging population which is looking to live healthier for longer, these studies are critical to people enjoying a productive and satisfying quality of life,” said lead author Michael Wheeler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and the University of Western Australia. “This study highlights how relatively simple changes to your daily routine could have a significant benefit to your cognitive health. It also reveals that one day, we may be able to do specific types of exercise to enhance specific cognitive skills such as memory or learning.”

The study included more than 65 men and women aged 55 to 80 years who used a treadmill with or without three-minute walking breaks during an eight-hour day of prolonged sitting. Aspects of cognition and concentration, including psychomotor function, attention, executive function such as decision-making, visual learning and working memory were assessed.

Results were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.