October 18, 2010

Walking Can Help Save Your Memories

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ Get up and get moving! Researchers say it's the smart thing to do, literally. Walking at least six miles per week may protect brain size and in turn, keep your memories alive.

A study done by researchers at the University of Pittsburg showed that with time our brain shrinks and with that, so does our memories. They say we could change all that with one simple 'step' in the right direction.

For the study, 299 dementia-free patients recorded how many blocks they walked every week for nine years. Scientist then took brain scans of their brain to measure its size.  Four years later, they got tested to see if they had developed any kind of mental impairment or dementia.

The study found that people who walked at least 6 miles per week had a greater gray matter volume compared to those that did not walk as much.  Four years later, 40 percent of the people in the study developed dementia but researchers found that those who walked the most had cut their risk of developing memory problems in half.

"If regular exercise in midlife could improve brain health and improve thinking and memory in later life, it would be one more reason to make regular exercise in people of all ages a public health imperative." Study author Kirk I. Erickson, PhD, with the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, was quoted saying.

SOURCE: Neurology, October 2010