Exercising Helps Keep Your Brain Big!
(Ivanhoe Newswire) –When we get older, our memory and thinking tend to deplete. Well, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, exercising regularly in old age may better protect against brain shrinkage, which affects memory and thinking, more than engaging in mental or social activities.
"People in their seventies who participated in more physical exercise, including walking several times a week, had less brain shrinkage and other signs of aging in the brain than those who were less physically active," study author Alan J. Gow, Ph.D., with the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, was quoted as saying. “On the other hand, our study showed no real benefit to participating in mentally and socially stimulating activities on brain size, as seen on MRI scans, over the three-year time frame."
Looking at the medical records of 638 people from Scotland born in 1936, researchers decided to give participants MRI scans at 73 years old. Participants also gave details about their exercise habits, ranging from moving only in connection with necessary household chores to keeping fit with heavy exercise or participating in competitive sports several times per week. They also reported their participation in social and mentally stimulating activities.
The study found that, after three years, people who participated in more physical activity experienced less brain shrinkage than those who exercised minimally. "Our results show that regularly exercising in old age is potentially important to protecting the brain as we age," Gow was quoted as saying.
Source: Neurology, October 2012