Thursday, December 9, 2010

Health Tip

Walk your way to a bigger brain and fewer senior moments. Walking six miles a week can cut the risk of memory problems in half.

Our stature isn’t the only thing that shrinks as we get older. Our brains do too. As you would probably expect, less gray matter equals more forgotten names and misplaced keys. Cognitive decline isn’t inevitable, though. A study in the journal Neurology shows that walking at least six miles a week may help prevent brain shrinkage and memory loss. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh followed 300 senior citizens for 13 years and found that those who walked the most cut their risk of dementia in half, compared with those who walked the least. At the end of the study, those who logged the most miles also had the most gray matter. That doesn’t mean you have to walk to the end of the earth to reduce your risk of memory problems, though. The researchers found that six miles a week was enough to protect against age-related decline.

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