Walking and dementia

Here’s more evidence that moving your body can help your brain.

A study suggests that people who regularly take long walks experience less brain shrinkage and less cognitive impairment as they grow older than sedentary folks.

Researchers recruited 300 older Zoomers and recorded the distances they walked in a typical week. Nine years later, the volunteers underwent MRI scans, which measured their brain size. After four more years, they were tested for signs of cognitive impairment or dementia.

The people who walked between six and nine miles a week had less brain shrinkage compared with those who walked less. Even more important, the regular walkers cut their risks of developing cognitive problems in half.

Scientists aren’t sure why but they think it’s because exercise stimulates the development of blood vessels in brain, and seems to support the growth of new brain cells.

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