Baltimore - Memory loss is always associated to getting older. And many think once the memory starts to go, there's nothing you can do, but that may not be true.
A new study finds exercise in older people may actually be a memory booster.
In older adults, without dementia, the area of the brain related to memory loss gets smaller with time. That area, known as the hippocampus, shrinks between one and two percent a year for older Americans. That can lead to impaired memory and even raises the risk of dementia.
Animal studies found exercise can increase the volume of the hippocampus and improve memory, but could that work in humans?
A study in The Proceedings of the National of Academy of Sciences, says yes!
They gave 120 older adults to either aerobic exercise or a stretching regimen. Participants took memory tests and brain scans before, during and after the one year program. Those who did aerobic exercise, walking 40 minutes three times a week, showed a 2% increase in hippocampus volume and better memory.
But the group who only stretched actually had a 1.4% volume loss.
The authors say aerobic exercise can reverse brain volume loss in late adulthood, improving memory.
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