Walking Protects from Early Dementia - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/21/04

Walking Protects from Early Dementia

As the baby boomer generation ages, experts predict a large number will experience one devastating effect of old age -- Dementia, but a new study says that regular walking, just a few hours a week, can have a significant effect on protecting the brain from early signs of Dementia.

"This is good news because walking is a relatively easy way for people to preserve their learning, memory, and attention," says Jennifer Weuve, Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Weuve and her colleagues at Harvard and three other institutions tracked the exercise habits of more than 18,000 older women over a period of 8 to 15 years. Then, when the women reached age 70 and older, researchers tested their memory, learning, and attention skills over a two year period.

They found that walking just two hours a week can bring insurance against Dementia later in life, and the more you walk, the better. Women who walked six or more hours a week saw even less memory decline as they aged.

Dr.Weuve says that some researchers suspect walking may help the brain by encouraging the growth and survival of brain cells. She also says that the positive effects of walking were seen in older women regardless of their particular age, health habits, or general health status.

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