Just 6 Months of Walking May Boost Aging Brains
Walking and other types of moderate exercise may help turn back the clock for older adults who are losing their mental sharpness, a new clinical trial finds.
The study focused on older adults who had milder problems with memory and thinking skills. The researchers found that six months of moderate exercise -- walking or pedaling a stationary bike -- turned some of those issues around. Specifically, exercisers saw improvements in their executive function -- the brain's ability to pay attention, regulate behavior, get organized and achieve goals.
And those who also made some healthy diet changes, including eating more fruits and vegetables, showed somewhat bigger gains. The effect was equivalent to shaving about nine years from their brain age, said lead researcher James Blumenthal, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, N.C. In contrast, those same mental abilities kept declining among study participants who received health education only.
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