Exercise is a powerful tool with many health benefits. A new study indicates that exercise helps reduce brain shrinkage, a common occurrence as we age. The recent study looked at 638 brain scans of adults past the age of retirement. The findings indicate that those who participated in regular physical activity showed less brain shrinkage than those who exercise their brain through word puzzles or reading. The exercise does not have to be strenuous, walking several times a weeks is sufficient. Physical activity increases the flow of blood to the brain, allowing for greater oxygen and nutrient delivery. It can also help in the prevention of the breakdown of both white and gray matter in the brain, allowing the individual to have better memory and cognitive skills later in life. Brain breakdown is not the only health benefit of exercise for the aging population. Physical activity can affect blood pressure, weight management, cardiovascular health, and can help keep joints in working order. Exercise is a simple addition to any individual’s life and provides lasting benefit. In addition to creating healthier aged individuals, exercise help reduce brain shrinkage, lessening the development of dementia, and keeping minds healthy into late life. A small adjustment in lifestyle today could mean a functional cognitive future for many.
BBC News Health - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20026099 WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20121022/exercise-protects-aging-brains-better USA Today Health Round Up - http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/23/physical-exercise-aging-brains-hrt-guidelines/1651325/