A walk to Remember

If you're 55 or older, put down your crossword puzzle and take a stroll. Scientists have found that moderate Aerobic Activity can improve seniors' memory by reversing the slow wasting away of a key part of tiv brain, which begins at around 50.

A Walk to Remember
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"It used to be thought that aging was a one-way street that was going the wrong direction," University of Illinois,  Professor Arthur Kramer tells Science News, but his recent study proves "that's not the case."

Kramer and colleagues recruited 120 sedentary adults between the ages of 55 and 80. Half got their heart rates up by walking for 40 minutes, three times a week; the other half did stretching and weight exercises instead.

After a year, scientists scanned each walker's brain and found that the Hippocampus, where memories are formed, had grown by an average of 2 percent. By contrast, the stretchers' hippocampi had shrunk 1.4 percent, as expected.

Though more study is needed, Kramer says initial results indicate that a brisk jaunt several times a week can roll back the pace of age-related memory loss "by about two years."

The Week
Health & Science News
18 February 2011