Mental HealthThe Radiological Society of North America has reported another study to add to the increasing body of evidence that physical activity has cognitive benefits. In an ongoing 20 year study, researchers analyzed the relationship between physical activity and brain structure in 426 people, including 299 healthy adults (mean age 78) and 127 cognitively impaired adults (mean age 81), including 83 adults with mild cognitive impairment (greater than average for age-related memory loss) and 44 with Alzheimer's dementia. They measured brain volume and administered the mini-mental state exam over the period of the study.
Physical Activity BenefitsThe findings showed cognitively impaired people needed to walk five miles per week to maintain brain volume and slow cognitive decline and healthy adults needed to walk six miles per week to maintain brain volume and reduce their risk. In addition, MMSE scores declined significantly in those who did not walk compared to those who did.
Healthy adults can help maintain their memory and slow cognitive decline, and those with memory loss can also maintain themselves, by participating in physical activity, such as walking.
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