Researchers from Colorado State University have studied people over the age of 60 to see the effect of physical activity on their brain’s ability to refresh its White matter which connects cells in brains. The study finds that taking part in physical activity like walking can have a positive effect on a person’s brain as they age. The study was published in the journal NeuroImage.
They found that going for 40 minute walks at least three times a week could help refresh the brain’s White matter and keep an elderly person cognitively strong.The results of the research provide older people with a simple way to keep their brains healthy and active deeper into their lives.
The White matter is the tissue at the largest and deepest part of the brain, which connects parts of the brain and spinal cord to nerve fibres. Healthy White matter is tied to better memory, better problem-solving and increased cognitive abilities. The team recruited 247 participants from old age communities. Each of the participants was between ages 60 and 80, right-handed, had at least 20/40 vision and performed little vigorous physical activity in their daily lives.
Researchers wanted to make sure the participants still had decent levels of cognitive ability despite their limited activity and then split them into three different groups. participants were put in a program where they regularly stretched and performed other routines that required little physical exertion.Another group would go for a 40-minute walk three times a week. The final group took part in dancing exercises three times a week, the most physically and mentally exerting task of the bunch. Participants underwent brain scans, in which the health and the function of their White matter were examined and the start of the study and six months later.