Exercise in old age is better prevention for dementia than mental stimulation
Published 23 October 2012
Exercising regularly in old age may better protect against brain shrinkage than engaging in mental or social activities, according to a new study published in the journal, Neurology®.
Researchers looked at medical records of 638 people from Scotland born in 1936. The participants were given MRI scans at 73 years old. The group 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.Alzheimer's Society comment:
'Dementia is one of people's biggest fears in later life, but there are ways for people to help reduce their risk of developing the condition. Keeping your mind stimulated can be fun, but exercise has been proven to prevent cognitive decline in many studies. This research gives people further reason to get active and workout to ward off dementia.'
Professor Clive Ballard
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