Regular exercise in old age can not only reduce the risk of heart disease or diabetes but it can also prevent your brain from shrinking, a new study by researchers Edinburgh researchers reveals.
The researchers analyzed brain scans of more than 630 people over the age of 70 years and found that those who were physically active had the least amount of brain shrinkage and less chance of suffering from dementia. The study has been published in the journal Neurology.
The researchers added that by exercise they do not mean any strenuous physical activity and simply going on walks several times a week was more than enough. However contrary to popular belief, they found no evidence that indulging in mental workouts, such as solving puzzles or crosswords, reduced the amount of shrinkage.
"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. 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", lead researcher Alan Gow said.