Here's something that might help you stick to your New Years resolution to exercise. Now, more than ever there is proof that exercise does more than keep you looking good and feeling fit. Take May Segal, for example she is 92 and loves to swim.
"In the pool with the other people I feel like I'm a little girl!," says May Segal an active senior.
A six year study of more than 1700 seniors over 65 finds those who exercised thee times a week were up to forty percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's than their less active peers. Duke University aging researcher Dr. Harvey Cohen says exercise triggers a number of healthy effects - like increasing blood flow.
"Exercise and physical activity have effects on lowering inflammation and that can actually allow people to function better as they age physically," says Harvey Cohen M.D. Director at Duke Center of Aging.
This latest research suggests it may never be too late to start, seniors who were the frailest at the beginning of the study ended up showing the biggest brain boost. Dr. Cohen says it doesn't take a lot of exercise to reap the brain benefit a minimum of fifteen minutes three times a week is enough. That includes a choice of walking, hiking, bicycling, aerobics, or lifting weights. Dr. Cohen also suggests exercising with a friend, because previous studies have also shown that social interaction may also play a role in lowering the risk of memory problems.
So, especially as we grow older friends are good medicine. The National Institute on Aging offers a free 80 page booklet on exercise, which provides valuable information and it explains some good exercises for seniors. It's available in English or Spanish. You can get the booklet or video by calling 1-800-222-2225.
The study is reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine. For information about aAlzheimer's Disease, visit the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center web site by clicking here, or call the ADEARr Center toll free at 1-800-438-4380.