A recent study finds that exercise may do an even better job at protecting our brains against aging than social or mental activity, such as doing a crossword puzzle.

Researchers studied 638 volunteers, all born in 1936. The participants in the study were given questionnaires that gauged their level of physical activity, intellectual pursuits, and participation in leisure activities. Participants were asked about their exercise habits, which ranged from performing just the amount of exercise needed to accomplish household chores to competing in sports several times a week. They were also asked about their involvement in social and mental activities. Three years later, the participants then underwent MRI brain scans. The scans showed less brain shrinkage in those who reported higher levels of physical activity on their questionnaires three years before.

It’s never too late to benefit from exercise! Remember, that for some people, our home care services create additional opportunities to do things around the house, to get moving, and to get out.

Source: Gow A, Bastin M, Maniega S, et al. Neuroprotective lifestyles and the aging brain: activity, atrophy, and white matter integrity. Neurology. 2012 October 23; 79 (17): 1802-1808.

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