Exercise in older age may protect memory and thinking skills

A new study printed in the journal Neurology offers additional proof that exercise in older age may slow the rate of mental degeneration.

Dr. Clinton B. Wright, of the University of Miami in Florida, and colleagues found that adults over the age of 50 who engaged in light or no exercise practiced a knowingly quicker decline in memory and thinking skills, likened with those who involved in modest to strong exercise.

The number of people over the age of 65 in the United States is on the rise, meaning the public health burden of thinking and memory problems will likely grow, notes Dr. Wright.

Our study showed that for older people, getting regular exercise may be protective, helping them keep their cognitive abilities longer.

To reach their answers, the team measured data of 876 adults aged 50 and older – an average age of 71 – free of memory and thinking problems who were part of the Northern Manhattan Study.

Associated with members who engaged in modest or high-intensity activity, those who did light or no exercise validated a failure in memory and rational skills over a 5-year period that was similar to 10 years of aging.

The crew says this connotation continued after accounting for a number of possibly perplexing factors, with alcohol consumption, smoking status, and body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure.