It keeps you fit and healthy, but also prevents brain shrinkage, according to new research published in Neurology. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found a direct link between physical activity and less atrophy and white matter lesion. In contrast, mental and social activities didn’t show real benefit.
The researchers gave MRI scans to 638 people at age 73, after checking their exercise habits as well as their social and mentally stimulating activities.
“People in their seventies who participated in more physical exercise, including walking several times a week, had less brain shrinkage and other signs of aging in the brain than those who were less physically active,” said Alan J. Gow, co-author of the study and researcher at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. “On the other hand, our study showed no real benefit to participating in mentally and socially stimulating activities on brain size, as seen on MRI scans, over the three-year time frame.”
Source: Medical Breakthroughs
Photo: Just Us 3/Flickr
Gow, A., Bastin, M., Munoz Maniega, S., Valdes Hernandez, M., Morris, Z., Murray, C., Royle, N., Starr, J., Deary, I., & Wardlaw, J. (2012). Neuroprotective lifestyles and the aging brain: Activity, atrophy, and white matter integrity Neurology, 79 (17), 1802-1808 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182703fd2